Corn Falls as Rain Forecast to Boost Argentine Crop; Soy Gains

Jan 15, 2014 3:55 pm ET

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Corn futures fell the most in a week on speculation that rain forecast for Argentina will improve crop prospects. Soybeans posted the biggest rally in two months, while wheat declined.

A slow-moving storm system beginning Jan. 19 will bring as much as 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of rain over five days to 70 percent of Argentina’s growing region, easing stress from recent hot, dry weather, according to QT Weather in Chicago. The country is the world’s fourth-largest shipper of corn and third- biggest soybean exporter, U.S. government data show.

“There’s probably been some damage to the pollinating crop, but there’s some relief on the way,” Doug Bergman, a vice president of agricultural derivatives at RMC Asset Management in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The biggest negative remains the increase in farmer sales earlier this week” that improved immediate supplies for ethanol processors and livestock producers, he said.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 1.3 percent to close at $4.2575 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest decline for a most-active since Jan. 8.

On Jan. 10, the price rebounded from a 40-month low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said domestic production and stockpiles were smaller than forecast by analysts.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.8 percent to $13.18 a bushel. The price rose for the fifth straight session the longest rally since Nov. 13. Bergman cited increasing demand for the oilseed used to make animal feed and cooking oil.

Today, U.S. exporters reported sales of 106,000 tons of soybeans to China for delivery in the 12 months starting Sept. 1. U.S. processing by 13 major companies in December rose 3.4 percent to a record 165.4 million bushels, according to a National Oilseed Processors Association estimate. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 163.94 million.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 2 percent to $5.6775 a bushel. The price has fallen 27 percent in the past year on the outlook for record global production and higher reserves.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Joe Richter