Corn Prices Post Biggest Weekly Drop Since November; Wheat Falls

Jan 17, 2014 4:38 pm ET

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Corn futures fell, capping the biggest weekly drop since early November, on speculation that rain will boost crops in Argentina and Brazil. Wheat prices declined, while soybeans rose.

Almost 75 percent of Argentina’s corn belt will get 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters) to 2 inches of rain next week, temporarily easing stress on plants, Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Maryland, said today in a report. The Brazilian crop may get as much as much as 2.5 inches in the next five days.

“The confidence is increasing that rain next week will aid South American crops,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed analyst at Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The crops will need more rain by early February to maintain favorable yield potential.”

Corn futures for March delivery fell 0.9 percent to close at $4.24 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. This week, the price dropped 2 percent, the most since Nov. 1. The grain has tumbled 41 percent in the past year as output increased 29 percent in the U.S., the world’s top producer.

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $5.635 a bushel. The price declined for the seventh straight week, the longest slump since October 2008.

The grain has slumped 28 percent in the past 12 months on the outlook for record-high global production and rising inventories.

“The price is falling because there is a world glut,” Peter Meyer, the senior director of agricultural commodities at the Pira Energy Group in New York, said in a telephone interview. “Demand is growing more slowly than production.”

Soybean futures for March delivery gained 0.1 percent to $13.165 a bushel. The price gained 3 percent this week, partly on increasing demand in China, the top user.

Trading is closed on Jan. 20 for a public holiday. The electronic market will open at 7 p.m.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Joe Richter