U.S. corn ends firm, paring gains as farmers sell grain

* Forecasts call for unwanted U.S. Midwest weekend rains
* Soybeans extend rally as U.S.-China trade war fears ease
* Soy rally capped by bearish U.S. crush data
* Wheat higher; drought-hit Australia imports grain

(Recasts top with updated prices, quotes, changes byline)
By Julie Ingwersen
CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures hit a six-week
high on Wednesday on forecasts for rains in the Midwest crop
belt that could signal further planting delays, but the market
pared gains as the run-up in prices triggered a round of farmer
selling, traders said.
Wheat futures also ended nearly flat while soybeans closed
Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled up 3/4 cent
at $3.69-1/2 per bushel, after reaching $3.80 a bushel in midday
trading, the contract's highest since March 29.
Corn firmed on forecasts for rains to return to the U.S.
Corn Belt this weekend and persist next week.
But the rally stalled as the July contract reached
$3.80 and the new-crop December contract approached $4 a
bushel, high enough to entice farmers to sell.
"This is a classic transfer of risk, where funds were
covering their short positions and the farmer was happy to sell
to them," said Terry Linn, an analyst with Linn & Associates, a
Chicago brokerage.
CBOT July soybeans settled up 4 cents at $8.35-1/2 per
bushel, after rising to $8.48-1/4 in midday trading.
CBOT July soft red winter wheat ended up 1/4 cent at
$4.48-3/4 per bushel, while K.C. July hard red winter wheat
fell 6-3/4 cents to $4.02 a bushel and Minneapolis Grain
Exchange July spring wheat closed down 8 cents at
$5.15-1/4 a bushel.
Corn futures have risen sharply this week, with the July
corn contract surging 37 cents from a contract low of
$3.43 on Monday to Wednesday's high of $3.80, as U.S. planting
worries prompted funds to unwind a portion of their massive net
short position.
"We're a little bit over-extended on some big
short-covering. But if the (weather) forecast verifies, there is
going to be some significant acreage loss," said Dan Cekander,
president of DC Analysis.
"There is some planting going on, but it looks like a pretty
limited window," Cekander said.
U.S. farmers seeded 30% of the U.S. 2019 corn crop by
Sunday, the government said, lagging the five-year average of
66%. The soybean crop was 9% planted, behind the five-year
average of 29%.
CBOT soybeans extended their rally from Tuesday, after U.S.
President Donald Trump eased concerns over the U.S.-China tariff
But bearish monthly soy crushing data hung over the market,
capping gains. The National Oilseed Processors Association said
its U.S. members crushed 159.99 million bushels of soybeans in
April, down from 170.0 million in March and below an average of
analyst expectations for 161.6 million.

Also, China's sow herd fell by 22.3% in April from a year
earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said,
underscoring the effects of an epidemic of incurable African
swine fever.
The decrease in China's hog herd, the world's largest,
suggests a drop in demand for soy-based animal feed.
Wheat drew support from news that drought-hit Australia will
import its first shipment of wheat in more than a decade, from

CBOT settlement prices:
Net Pct Volume
Last change change
CBOT wheat WN9 448.75 0.25 0.0 81854
CBOT corn CN9 369.50 0.75 0.2 320023
CBOT soybeans SN9 835.50 4.00 0.5 167736
CBOT soymeal SMN9 299.80 1.80 0.6 65936
CBOT soyoil BON9 27.24 0.24 0.9 60139
NOTE: CBOT July wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, July soymeal in dollars per short ton and July soyoil in
cents per lb.

(Additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and
Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Richard Pullin/Mark
Heinrich and Tom Brown)

First Published: 2019-05-15 03:47:29
Updated 2019-05-15 22:51:00

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