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Bearish combo greets corn trade

Favorable crop weather, namely growing rainfall chances in some of the driest parts of the Corn Belt, as well as lower-than-expected corn export sales numbers released Thursday morning, could push grain futures prices lower Thursday.

Rain fell over parts of the northwestern Corn Belt Wednesday night and into Thursday, and those rains are expected to move south and east through central and eastern Iowa before "dying out" in western Illinois, says Craig Solberg of Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. And, that's not the end of the moisture prospects for the holiday weekend.

"Early [Friday] a warm front will move northward quickly into the northern Corn Belt states bringing some rains to eastern Nebraska and spotty thunderstorm activity Friday and Friday night across Iowa and northern Illinois," he says. "It does look like Monday, Memorial Day, could be a transition day in the weather pattern as slightly cooler weather and scattered thunderstorms move back into the central cornbelt states. An area of low pressure could begin to bring more substantial rains to central and eastern Corn Belt states later next week. Just-planted corn and soybeans need a good drink to encourage early growth and germination."

Add to these growing rainfall prospects some weather-than-expected export sales numbers for corn Thursday morning, and it could make for a slightly bearish combination moving into Thursday's Open Outcry CME Group trading session. Corn export sales came in just over half of what analysts expected, at 482,000 metric tons versus the trade's expected 900,000 to 1.1 million MT total. The numbers were better for soybeans and wheat, both coming in at or near the top of the trade's expectations.

"So far, I'm seeing corn pull back, following the weaker-than-expected weekly export sales figure," says Markets Editor Mike McGinnis. "Soybeans and wheat seem to be trading at about the same level as they were before 7:30 report."

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