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Corn Extends Longest Slump Since 1965

February 14, 2013

 

By Jeff Wilson and Tony Dreibus, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

Corn futures fell, capping the longest slump since 1965, as rain improved prospects for harvests in Brazil and Argentina and U.S. exports lagged behind year-earlier shipments. Soybeans and wheat also declined.

As much as 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain will fall over the next seven days in Argentina, and 3 inches are forecast in southern Brazil, QT Weather said in a report today.

Corn prices retreated for the 10th straight session, the longest decline in 48 years. Combined output from Argentina and Brazil will jump 5.9 percent to a record 94 million bushels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Feb. 8. U.S. export sales for delivery before Sept. 1 are 53 percent lower than a year earlier, and heading for the smallest annual total since 1972, data show.

"The rains will assure record crops this year in South America," Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. "Prices are not low enough to spur increased overseas buying of U.S. corn."

Corn futures for May delivery fell 0.1 percent to close at $6.9275 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Yesterday, the grain touched $6.855, the lowest for a most- active contract since Jan. 11.

Prices have fallen 18 percent from a record high of $8.49 on Aug. 10, following a drought that cut production for a third straight year in the U.S., the top exporter. Farmers probably will boost output to a record this year as weather returns to normal, the USDA said Feb. 11.

Larger supplies may reduce livestock-feed costs for pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc. and poultry processor Sanderson Farms Inc.

Ethanol Production

Weekly U.S. grain-based ethanol production declined last month to the lowest since June 2010. Brazil shipped $83.5 million of corn to the U.S. in January, compared with none a year earlier, the Trade Ministry in Brasilia said today.

Soybeans erased gains after the USDA reported that China canceled earlier U.S. purchases. U.S. exporters reported net sales reductions of 109,200 metric tons in the week ended Feb. 7, led by 230,600 tons postponed by China, the world’s biggest buyer and consumer of the oilseed.

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