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Markets

Corn pares gains after 7-1/2 year high; deferred contracts climb

  • CBOT May soybeans were down 24-3/4 cents at $14.12 a bushel, while new-crop November soybeans were up 10-3/4 cents at $12.67.
Published April 2, 2021

CHICAGO: U.S. nearby corn futures pared gains on Thursday on profit-taking after the benchmark contract climbed to its highest since 2013, bolstered by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that projected smaller-than-expected plantings and rekindled worries over global grain supplies.

Nearby soybean futures fell on profit-taking, after a limit-up rally a day earlier.

However, deferred futures contracts for corn and soybeans rose, gaining against nearby contracts on spreads, as the USDA's plantings report shifted the market's focus to the 2021 harvest.

As of 12:55 p.m. CDT (1755 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade May corn was up 1/2 cent at $5.64-3/4 per bushel, easing after reaching $5.85, the highest price on a continuous chart of the most-active corn contract since June 2013. But the new-crop December contract was up 10-1/2 cents at $4.88.

CBOT May soybeans were down 24-3/4 cents at $14.12 a bushel, while new-crop November soybeans were up 10-3/4 cents at $12.67.

"The real story Wednesday was the shortage of acres. As such, today's strength is in the new-crop contracts to encourage acreage expansion, while the old-crop contracts see profit-taking," Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for StoneX, wrote in a client note.

Wheat futures declined amid favourable growing conditions across the Northern Hemisphere. CBOT May wheat was down 7 cents at $6.11 a bushel.

U.S. farmers plan to sow 91.1 million acres with corn this year, the most since 2016, and 87.6 million acres with soybeans, the most since 2018, the USDA said Wednesday. However, both estimates were well below analyst expectations for 93.2 million corn acres and 89.996 million soybean acres.

"The USDA's March 2021 Prospective Plantings reports were a massive, bullish surprise in corn and soy as expectations for a record 183 million combined acres were dashed by the Herculean difficulty of growing U.S. acreage by 6% in one year," Rabobank analysts said in a note.

The USDA's planting estimates have revived concern about tightening global supplies after importers led by China and domestic processors loaded up on grain and oilseeds this season.

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

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