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Harvest advancement sinks corn futures

09/17/2013 @ 2:33pm

Corn futures declined Tuesday as the U.S. harvest advanced, boosting supplies of the grain for food makers, livestock feeders and ethanol companies. Soybeans also dropped, while wheat gained.

About 4% of the nation's corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's still down from 24% a year earlier and the five-year average of 10%, the government said in a report on Monday. Growers are forecast to harvest a record 13.8 billion bushels of corn in the year that started on Sept. 1 and stockpiles are expected to nearly triple to 1.855 billion bushels, according to the USDA.

Corn futures for December delivery dropped 2 1/2 cents, or 0.6%, to $4.54 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soybean futures dropped on speculation that rainfall forecast in parts of the Midwest this week will improve prospects for crops that still have a chance for further yield improvement. About 26% of plants were dropping leaves, meaning the rest were growing, according to the government's crop-progress report Monday.

Wet weather will favor soybeans this week, with the heaviest rain expected in the eastern Midwest, according to agriculture-information provider DTN. That may help plants that have been afflicted by hot, dry weather in recent weeks. U.S. soybean production is forecast to rise 4.4% to 3.149 billion bushels from a year earlier, according to the USDA.

"In beans, the rain that's expected is one of the bigger stories because we still have 74% of the crop still growing," said Jerry Gidel, a grain analyst at brokerage Rice Dairy in Chicago.

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CBOT soybean futures for November delivery fell 5 3/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $13.42 1/2 a bushel.

Wheat futures rose on signs of increased demand for U.S. inventories from foreign buyers such as Brazil. CBOT December wheat rose 1 3/4 cents, or 0.3%, to $6.43 a bushel.

Exporters shipped 9.86 million metric tons of the grain from the start of the marketing year on June 1 through Sept. 5, a 34% increase from the same timeframe a year earlier, according to the USDA. Overseas buyers committed to buy 16.4 million tons of wheat, up 38% from 2012, the government said. The USDA expects Brazil to import 1.28 million tons from the U.S. in the current marketing year that ends on May 31, up from 108,000 in the prior 12 months. Brazil has been a major buyer since Argentina stopped exports in a bid to improve domestic stockpiles.

"You have an export pace that's been surprisingly good thanks in large degree to Brazil," said Jeff McReynolds of McReynolds Marketing and Investments in Hays, Kansas. "They want high-quality wheat and we have it, and we have the freight advantage. Argentina won't sell to them so they have to go elsewhere, so they're buying from the U.S. and Canada."


Write to Tony C. Dreibus at tony.dreibus@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 17, 2013 15:14 ET (19:14 GMT)
DJ Corn Prices Slide as Harvest Expands Supply; Wheat Up -- Update->copyright


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