Saturday, May 28

Corn futures hit decade-high above $8/bushel on global supply concerns

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CHICAGO — Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn futures topped $8 a bushel and reached their highest price in nearly a decade on Monday on concerns over unfavorable US crop weather and the Ukraine war disrupting grain exports.

Traders worry chilly weather will slow US crop plantings this spring and could potentially reduce yields at harvest time in the autumn. Forecasts show “only brief open windows for Midwest planting” through month’s end, said Rich Feltes, head of market insights for broker RJ O ‘Brien.

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Already, planting is off to a sluggish start, with 2% of the crop seeded as of April 10, behind the five-year average of 3%. The US Department of Agriculture will issue an update on farmers’ progress in a weekly report at 3 pm CDT (2000 GMT).

“It appears some corn will get planted before the end of April, but the war in Ukraine rages on,” said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago.

US grain production is particularly important this year because the war in Ukraine has thrown doubt on its plantings and stalled agricultural exports from the Black Sea region, a major global supplier of corn and wheat.

Around 1.25 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds are still on commercial vessels in Ukrainian seaports due to Russia’s invasion, and part of the cargo may deteriorate in the near future, Ukraine’s farm minister was quoted as saying on Friday.

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Most-active corn futures climbed as high as $8.03 a bushel at the CBOT, the strongest level since September 2012. By 10:10 am CDT (1510 GMT), the contract was up 18-3/4 cents at $8.02-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT soybeans gained 24 cents to $16.89-1/4 a bushel, while CBOT wheat jumped 28-1/2 cents to $11.33 a bushel and neared a four-week high.

Wheat futures recovered after the most-active contract on Thursday posted its biggest decline in nearly two weeks. CBOT markets were closed on Friday. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Amy Caren Daniel and Jonathan Oatis)