Counting corn before it's popped

Corn (CBOT:C) dropped for a third day to trade near the lowest level in more than five months on expectations that the biggest U.S. harvest ever of the grain will boost supplies for the top exporter.

Domestic corn stockpiles were 3.85 billion bushels at the start of June following a record 2013 crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported June 30. That beat the average estimate of 3.72 billion bushels in a Bloomberg survey of 26 analysts. This year’s harvest is set to climb to 13.94 billion bushels, an all-time high, the USDA said June 11.

Corn for December delivery fell 0.4 percent to $4.21 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 7:25 a.m. local time, after touching $4.17 yesterday, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 10. The contract slumped 4.9 percent on the day of the USDA stocks report, the biggest loss since June 2013. Futures trading volumes were 56 percent below the average for the past 100 days for this time of day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The markets continue to strain under the pressure from the still stunning USDA acreage and stocks-in-all-positions reports,” economist Dennis Gartman wrote in his newsletter. “The recent more-than-abundant rains have all but assured a massive corn crop this year.”

About 75 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good or excellent condition as of June 29, up from 74 percent a week earlier, the USDA said June 30.

“The price trend for corn is bearish as we head into a record U.S. harvest,” Rabobank International wrote in a report yesterday. “Very good crop conditions with good soil moisture and expectations for low-stress July temperatures are combining to apply downward pressure.”

Egypt buys

Soybeans for November delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $11.4575 a bushel after falling to $11.32 yesterday, the lowest for a most-active contract since December 2011.

Wheat for delivery in September slipped 0.2 percent to $5.715 a bushel in Chicago, while milling wheat for November delivery traded on Euronext in Paris declined 0.1 percent to 184 euros ($251) a metric ton.

Egypt’s state grain buyer bought 180,000 tons of wheat from Romania and 60,000 tons of Russian wheat yesterday, spurning offers from France and the U.S.

“This confirms, unsurprisingly, that Romania will again be a formidable competitor for France this year,” Paris-based farm adviser Agritel wrote in a market report.

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