Planting hopes pin down corn futures
U.S. corn futures are trading lower Monday morning on expectations for drier weather to allow more corn planting in the Midwest.
In electronic trading, Chicago Board of Trade futures for May delivery are down 10 1/4 cents or 1.6% at $6.41 3/4 a bushel. The contract is at the bottom of its trading range of the last week.
Corn prices have been supported this month by concerns about cold, wet weather delaying planting progress on the new U.S. crop.
But the weather forecast on Monday is more favorable for corn planting.
Part of the southern corn belt turned drier over the weekend, allowing for some planting progress, and other parts of the Midwest will likely see a break from rain at the end of this week, private forecaster Commodity Weather Group said in a morning forecast Monday. Temperatures are also expected to warm up starting late this week, it said.
"Corn seeding will still run behind normal but should make progress in between shower events in most areas to limit the severity of concerns," with the best progress in the next two weeks in Nebraska, western Iowa, Missouri and Kansas, it said.
For the next five days in the corn belt, the National Weather Service forecasts precipitation ranging up to an inch or more from southern Minnesota to Illinois and Missouri. Its six- to 10-day and eight- to 14-day outlooks mostly predict a mix of above-average chances of precipitation in the eastern corn belt, with below-average chances of precipitation in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.
Corn traders will watch for the USDA on Monday afternoon, after the market closes, to issue a weekly report on planting progress. Analysts expect the corn crop to be 3% to 7% planted, compared to 2% last week.
Corn and soybean traders are also monitoring developments in China's recent bird flu outbreak.
As of April 15, China's poultry sector had recorded losses of more than $2.6 billion since reports emerged of the new strain of bird flu at the end of March, according to the China Animal Agricultural Association. Reductions in chicken production and consumption could lead to lower Chinese imports of corn and soybeans for use in animal feed, some observers say.
-Sameer C. Mohindru and Zhoudong Shangguan contributed to this article.
Write to Owen Fletcher at email@example.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 22, 2013 09:51 ET (13:51 GMT)
DJ U.S. Corn Futures Fall On Hopes Of Less Rain, More Planting->copyright
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