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Grain futures steady, corn at 3-year low on crop outlook

Grain futures were little changed during European trading on Thursday with soybeans and wheat trading near multi-week lows, while corn fell to the weakest level since August 2010 on speculations the USDA will raise its crop estimate on November 8.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for settlement in December traded at $4.2213 per bushel at 12:38 GMT, up 0.22% on the day. Prices plunged to more than a three-year low of $4.2013 earlier in the session, while days high stood at $4.2263. The grain lost 1.1% on Wednesday, a sixth straight daily decline, and was down 1.1% on weekly basis on Thursday.

Market sentiment remained dampened on expectations the U.S. Department of Agriculture will revise upward its September crop estimate. According to the median estimate of 36 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, the U.S. corn crop may surge to an all-time record of 14.03 billion bushels, 30% larger than 2012′s drought damaged harvest. Meanwhile, analysts also predicted yields may be 159.2 bushels per acre, up from the government agency’s estimate of 155.3 bushels. The USDA will update its calculations on November 8.

Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said for Bloomberg: “Expectations that the USDA will make a sizable upward revision towards U.S. corn crop estimates has been the primary factor weighing on that market. The market is certainly wanting to sit on its hands and square off positions and await the USDA report.”

Elsewhere on the market, soybeans futures for settlement in January traded at $12.5463 per bushel at 12:52 GMT, down 0.06% on the day. Prices shifted in a days range between days high of $12.5950 and low at $12.5363, near Tuesdays 3-month low. The oilseed rose by 0.5% on Wednesday and trimmed its weekly advance to less than 0.2% on Thursday.

Corn and soybeans drew some support as weather forecasters predicted unfavorable weather in some key growing areas, which would slow field work. DTN reported on November 6 that heavy precipitation across the Midwest will cause harvest delays in the short-term. In central Brazil, dry and warm-to-hot weather will favor the planting of corn and soybeans but heavy rains during the weekend in Argentina will slow field work.

In Western Europe, an active storm will continue offering rain coupled with low temperatures, which will delay the late-summer crop harvests and planting of winter grains and oilseed. DTN also reported that persisting hot and dry weather in South Africas Maize Triangle is benefiting the planting of corn and sugar cane but is depleting the soil moisture.

Wheat gains as well

Wheat also gained on the day but remained near 1-1/2-month low levels. Futures for settlement in December rose by 0.34% to $6.5563 per bushel by 12:50 GMT. Prices shifted in a days range between $6.5613 and $6.5288 per bushel, near Tuesdays multi-week low levels. The grain slid by 0.4% on Wednesday but trimmed its weekly decline to 1.7% on Thursday.

Wheat was pressured throughout the week after the USDA reported on Monday that planting of the winter U.S. crop advanced from a week earlier and was ahead of the average. As of the week ended November 3, 91% of plants were sown, matching last year’s pace and surpassing the five-year average reading of 90%. The government agency also reported that 78% of the crop had emerged, up from 65% from a week earlier. This was also above the five-year average of 73% and 2012′s 72% during the comparable week.

DTN reported yesterday that scattered showers coupled with higher temperatures in the Southern Plains continue to be favorable for the pre-winter development of winter wheat. Dry weather in Brazils central parts will ease the harvesting process.

The agency also said that higher temperatures in Argentinas wheat growing areas, coupled with ample soil moisture from recent rains, will favor wheat developing. Current conditions will give way to colder and wetter weather during the weekend and early next week which would maintain adequate soil moisture but might slow development.

Meanwhile, rainy and cool weather in Western Europe will favor the pre-winter development of winter wheat but will slow down field work, DTN said. In China, moderate rain last week continued to provide favorable conditions for the development of winter wheat and rapeseed in the Yangtze River valley and the southern portion of the North China Plain. is a financial media specialized in providing daily news and education covering Forex, equities and commodities. Our academies for traders cover Forex, Price Action and Social Trading.

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