Corn futures tumbled to an 11-week low on signs of slowing demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans also declined.
Export sales of corn in the week ended Sept. 20 plunged to 368 metric tons from 69,578 tons a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. That’s the lowest for that time of year since at least 1990. Total sales for delivery before Aug. 31 are down 36 percent from a year earlier. Prices have fallen 16 percent since reaching a record in August, when hot, dry weather damaged the U.S. crop.
“Corn-export demand is nonexistent, and prices are adjusting lower,” Chad Henderson, the president of Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “Livestock producers and ethanol plants are waiting for lower prices before increasing purchases.”
Corn futures for December delivery dropped 1.2 percent to settle at $7.1625 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $7.115, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 12. Still, prices are up 13 percent this quarter after the most-severe Midwest drought in at least 50 years sent the grain to a record $8.49 a bushel on Aug. 10.
Soybean futures for November delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $15.7075 a bushel in Chicago, after reaching $15.575, the lowest for a most-active contract since Aug. 8. The oilseed is headed for the fourth straight quarterly gain and reached a record $17.89 on Sept. 4.
Speculation that August rains boosted yields in the Midwest helped send soybeans lower today, Henderson said. Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay got as much as three times the normal precipitation in the past two weeks, improving conditions for planting and early growth, he said.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans, hay and wheat, government figures show.