May 17, 2019 / 2:20 AM / in 11 days

GRAINS-Corn climbs to near four-month top on U.S. planting delays

    * Corn futures gain for 5th session, up 8.5% this week
    * More rains to further delay planting in U.S. Midwest

 (Adds details, quote)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, May 17 (Reuters) - Chicago corn rose to its
highest since late January on Friday,  with the market set for
its biggest weekly rally in four years as concerns over U.S.
planting delays buoy the market.
    Wheat jumped to its highest since early April on
short-covering, while soybeans were little changed, weighed down
by U.S.-China trade tensions.
    The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade
 has climbed 8.5% this week, the biggest weekly gain since
July 2015. Corn hit a high of $3.82-1/4 a bushel on Friday - the
highest since Jan. 22.
    Wheat is up nearly 11% this week, the biggest weekly
climb since June 2017 and soybeans have added 4%, the
first weekly gain in six weeks.
    Rains across U.S. Midwest are threatening to further slow
corn planting which could prompt farmers to switch to soybeans
which are planted later.
    "Corn prices rallied sharply and hold those gains," said
Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth
Bank of Australia.
    "Moreover, the weak momentum that triggered at least some
selling is close to being extinguished. Momentum investors will
be getting buy signals."
    Farmers had seeded 30% of the U.S. 2019 corn crop by Sunday,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Monday, well
behind a five-year average of 66%.
    Crop consultancy Strategie Grains has again cut its forecast
for this year's wheat and barley production in the European
Union, partly due to drought in Hungary, but said recent rain
across the EU had eased dryness and left decent harvest
    In a monthly cereal report published on Thursday, the French
firm reduced its projection for EU soft wheat production in the
upcoming 2019/20 season to 143.9 million tonnes from 144.8
million forecast in April.
    An escalating U.S.-China trade war continues to weigh on
soybean prices. 
    U.S. President Donald Trump has dismissed the ongoing trade
war with China as a "little squabble," but there are clear signs
of the conflict already having an impact on the economy, and the
stock market has become jittery again.
    Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, wheat,
soybean, soyoil and soymeal futures contracts on Thursday,
traders said. 
    Trader estimates of net fund buying in corn ranged from
24,000 to 40,000 contracts. The following table reflects the
average of estimates from trade sources
 Grains prices at 0151 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  470.25  3.25     +0.70%   +4.85%       449.13  79
 CBOT corn   381.50  2.50     +0.66%   +3.46%       365.89  76
 CBOT soy    840.25  0.50     +0.06%   +1.05%       867.77  60
 CBOT rice   10.92   $0.01    +0.09%   -0.91%       $10.72  81
 WTI crude   63.25   $0.38    +0.60%   +2.38%       $63.31  
 Euro/dlr    $1.118  -$0.002  -0.21%   -0.24%               
 USD/AUD     0.6895  -0.003   -0.46%   -0.66%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 RSI 14, exponential

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; editing by Richard Pullin)
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