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Corn Futures Leap; Wheat and Soybeans Mixed

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Corn futures bounced on Wednesday as a government report showed the quality of crops this year was worse than expected.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday afternoon that 65% of this year's corn crop was in good or excellent condition, ??below expectations?. Last year, ??72% ?of the crop fell into that category.

The new data helped send futures ?higher on Wednesday as traders bet that an erratic start to the planting season could reduce final corn crop yield?s.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 1.4% to $3.72 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

But analysts said there wasn't enough correlation between initial quality reports and yield to push futures out of a current tight trading band. Corn futures were on track to end the month with the narrowest range in 11 years, said Joel Karlin, an economist at Western Milling in Goshen, Calif. Weather conditions throughout the growing season could alter the outlook for the crop.

"You throw some sun on this corn crop and these plants will look a lot better," Mr. Karlin said.

Soybean and wheat futures were mixed as broader selling in the commodity market weighed on those contracts. Crude oil futures fell sharply as traders continued to undo a May rally.

Falling Chinese crush margins of imported soybeans also pressured oilseed futures, as traders bet that the country may curtail imports.

"They've got a little indigestion in the amount of soybeans they've imported," said Dan Basse, president of research firm AgResource Co. in Chicago.

CBOT July soybean futures closed 0.4% higher at $9.16 a bushel. Wheat fell 0.1% to $4.29 1/4.

 - Benjamin Parkin Dow Jones.

See Also: Corn Futures, Soybean Futures, Wheat Futures


Corn Futures Decline on Concern Japan Disaster to Slash Commodity Demand

March 16th, 2011

Corn futures fell to a two-month low on concern that commodity demand will decline as Japan’s nuclear crisis escalates.

The Asian nation is struggling to control radiation leaking from a power plant damaged by the magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, killing thousands. Japan is the world’s biggest corn buyer. On Feb. 22, the price in Chicago reached a 31-month high.

“People fear the worst possible outcome in Japan and are liquidating long positions,” said Gregg Hunt, a market analyst at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago. “The situation has the potential to reduce demand” for supplies from the U.S., he said.

Corn futures for May delivery fell 19.5 cents, or 3.1 percent, to close at $6.165 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $6.08, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 12. Yesterday, the grain tumbled 4.5 percent, the most in four months.

Before today, the price jumped 75 percent in the past 12 months. The U.S. is the world’s leading corn exporter.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, government figures show.

 - Jeff Wilson in Chicago at Bloomberg.