UPDATE 2-Smaller-than-expected U.S. corn, soy acreage stokes price rally
(Adds details on wheat acreage, combined corn and soybean plantings)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and corn plantings were smaller than expected this spring, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday, raising concerns about global supplies as a separate report showed that domestic stockpiles were at multi-year lows.
The data shocked the market, sparking a rally in Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures, both of which had been trading sharply lower ahead of the reports.
The lower-than-expected plantings, combined with recent concerns over drought in the northern United States, point to tight supplies in the world's No. 2 soy and top corn exporter.
"This really puts the spotlight on weather and the weather isn't perfect," said Ted Seifried, chief ag strategist with the Zaner Group. "We do not have the (supply) cushion we thought we did."
Supply fears had pushed markets to eight-year highs during the spring, but prices eased off those peaks as planting season progressed amid expectations that growers had boosted their acreage to capitalize on the rallies.
"Obviously the market had worked in larger plantings that never got realized," said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst at Futures International.
Corn plantings totaled 92.692 million acres while soybean plantings came in at 87.555 million, the USDA said in its annual acreage report. The combined acreage for the crops, 180.247 million acres, was still the second-biggest on record, eclipsed only by 180.329 million acres in 2017.
Analysts had been expecting the report to show corn acres at 93.787 million and soybean acres at 88.955 million, based on the average of estimates given in a Reuters poll.
Wheat plantings came in at 46.743 million acres, topping market expectations for 45.940 million. But massive portions of the spring wheat crop in the top production state of North Dakota were at risk from scorching temperatures and parched soils, keeping the market focused on supplies.
In its quarterly stocks report, USDA said that domestic corn supplies as of June 1 stood at 4.122 billion bushels, the lowest for the time period since 2014. Soybean stocks came in at a six-year low of 767 million and wheat stocks were 844 million, also the lowest in six years.
Analysts had predicted corn stocks of 4.144 billion, soybean stocks of 787 million and wheat stocks of 859 million. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Additional reporting by Karl Plume and Tom Polansek; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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