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News, North America

Corn tops $7 a bushel for first time since 2013 in most-active contract

* High corn prices are not destroying demand, Bunge CEO says

* Feed demand remains strong from meat producers – analysts

* Traders worry Brazil dryness threatens corn output (Adds closing prices)

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, May 4 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures on Tuesday topped $7 a bushel in the most-active contract for the first time since 2013 as unfavorably dry crop weather in Brazil kept attention on tightening global supplies.

Surging prices have done little to curb robust demand for corn used to feed livestock and produce ethanol, opening the door for the market to extend gains, U.S. analysts said.

There has been “no demand destruction” for crops amid strong profitability for meat production, said Greg Heckman, chief executive officer for global grains trader Bunge Ltd

Some Asian feed manufacturers are switching to wheat from corn in animal rations, though Heckman said an increase in wheat feeding to livestock in China is temporary.

“We’ve got good animal profitability and good demand right now,” Heckman said on an earnings call with analysts.

The most actively traded July corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) settled up 17-1/4 cents at $6.96-3/4 per bushel. The market earlier reached $7.04 a bushel, the highest price for a most-active contract since March 2013. Front-month corn futures matched Monday’s eight-year high of $7.58-1/4 a bushel.

The gains helped pull up soybean and wheat prices, traders said.

Most-active wheat futures closed 8-3/4 cents stronger at $7.26-3/4 per bushel, while soybeans finished up 14-1/4 cents at $15.38-1/4 per bushel.

Oilseed inventories are tight, keeping the soybean market supported in the face of concern over reduced vegetable oil demand in India due to surging coronavirus cases, traders said.

In Brazil, weather forecasts showed little sign of rain relief for dry southern corn-growing areas, keeping the focus on global supply woes despite U.S. planting progress. Brazil’s second annual crop is seen as crucial to boosting short-term availability ahead of the U.S. harvest later in the year.

“In Brazil, the dry weather is still predominant and maize crops are suffering,” consultancy Agritel said. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Mark Potter, Andrea Ricci and Jonathan Oatis)


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