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Markets

Corn jumps to highest since 2013 on lower US planting outlook

  • The United States is the world's biggest corn exporter and the No. 2 soybean supplier.
Published April 1, 2021

SINGAPORE: Chicago corn futures climbed more than 3% on Thursday to hit their highest since 2013, as the market was buoyed by smaller-than-expected US planting.

Soybeans rose to their highest in nearly a month, while wheat gained 0.9%, advancing for a second consecutive session. "We were not expecting this planting estimate," said one Singapore-based feed grains trader.

"The market is extending gains today but we are not sure if buyers are going to jump in to cover positions at these levels, not just yet. Even South Koreans and Japanese, who are not that price sensitive, are unlikely to get into the market immediately."

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 2.9% to $5.80-1/2 a bushel, as of 0314 GMT, after hitting its highest since June 2013 at $5.85 a bushel earlier in the session.

Soybeans were little changed at $14.37 a bushel, having risen earlier on Thursday to their highest since March 8, and wheat gained 0.9% to $6.23-3/4 a bushel.

US farmers plan to sow 91.144 million acres with corn this year, the most since 2016, and 87.600 million acres with soybeans, the most since 2018, according to the US Department of Department of Agriculture (USDA).

However, both estimates were well below analyst expectations of 93.208 million corn acres and 89.996 million soybean acres.

Smaller-than-expected planting of the two main cash crops in the United States would heighten concerns about global food and animal feed supplies after importers and domestic processors loaded up on grain and oilseeds earlier this year.

The United States is the world's biggest corn exporter and the No. 2 soybean supplier.

The USDA's quarterly grain stocks report noted levels near analyst expectations, with US March 1 corn stocks pegged at 7.701 billion bushels, slightly lower than analyst predictions, while soybean stocks of 1.564 billion bushels were slightly higher than anticipated.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, soymeal, soyoil and wheat futures contracts on Wednesday, traders said.

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