Corn Drops to Four-Year Low as U.S. Crop in Best Shape Since ’94

Jul 15, 2014 3:00 pm ET

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Corn fell to a four-year low in Chicago after a government report showed crops are in the best condition in 20 years in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower.

Seventy-six percent of corn and 72 percent of soybeans were in top condition as of July 13, the best shape for this time of year since 1994, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed yesterday. Crops in the Midwest have seen ample rain, and forecasts for limited heat signals better potential for high yields, according to Bethesda, Maryland-based Commodity Weather Group.

“On the corn, we have another strong week of crop ratings, and there’s a lack of threatening weather,” Doug Bergman, a vice president of RCM Asset Management in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Corn futures for December delivery fell 1.7 percent to close at $3.8175 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $3.7825, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 28, 2010.

The grain entered a bear market this month on prospects that a second straight bumper U.S. harvest will boost global supply. Call options giving the owner the right to buy December futures at $4.70 a bushel traded 4,640 contracts yesterday on the Chicago Board of Trade, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“When I see big buying like that, it tells me that the smart money thinks prices are close to a bottom,” Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said in a telephone interview.

Soybean futures for November delivery were unchanged at $10.8625 a bushel on the CBOT. Prices advanced 1 percent yesterday, snapping a 10-day decline that was the longest slump in 41 years.

Wheat futures for September delivery were also unchanged, at $5.3775 a bushel. The price touched $5.2425 yesterday, the lowest since July 2010.

--With assistance from Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne.