Soybeans, Corn Decline as USDA May Raise U.S. Crop Forecasts

Jan 07, 2014 4:16 pm ET

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans and corn fell in Chicago on speculation the U.S. Department of Agriculture will raise its harvest estimate for 2013. Wheat slipped as snow cover is expected to shield part of the country’s crop om extreme cold.

The USDA may increase its forecast for soybean production to 3.28 billion bushels in the Jan. 10 final estimates report, from 3.26 billion forecast in November, based on a survey of 30 analysts by Bloomberg News. Corn production may rise to 14.06 billion bushels, compared with 13.989 billion estimated earlier.

“We will probably see the USDA increase its U.S. yield forecasts, keeping a negative tone to the markets,” Jason Britt, the president of Central States Commodities Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “With bigger U.S. crops and favorable weather for South America, there is downside risk.”

Soybean futures for delivery in March lost 0.1 percent to close at $12.76 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after rising 0.5 percent the prior two sessions.

Global stocks of the oilseed may be higher at 71.46 million metric tons from a government forecast of 70.62 million in December, while corn reserves are seen at 163.08 million tons from 162.46 million, a Bloomberg News survey of 15 analysts showed.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $4.26 a bushel.

Wheat futures for delivery in March slid 0.5 percent to $6.025 a bushel after touching a two week-high yesterday on concern that cold weather might damage crops in the U.S., the world’s top exporter.

Potential winterkill damage to wheat was limited to southern Indiana and Ohio and northern Kentucky, with limited snow cover for about 5 percent of the soft red winter-wheat area, Commodity Weather Group wrote in a report today.

“Freeze damage this time of year usually is minimized because the crop is in dormancy,” Britt said.

--With assistance from Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris and Ranjeetha Pakiam in Kuala Lumpur. Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan