GRAINS-Corn slides to three-year low near $4 a bushel on ample supplies

Credit: REUTERS/NICK OXFORD

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell to three-year lows on Wednesday, nearing $4 a bushel as ample domestic grain supplies and strong South American crop prospects weighed on sentiment, analysts said.

Soybeans followed corn lower, retreating after rallies a day earlier, and wheat ended mostly weaker.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) March corn CH24 settled down 7-3/4 cents, or 1.85%, at $4.11 per bushel after hitting $4.10, the lowest since November 2020 on a continuous chart of the most-active Cv1 contract. CBOT March soybeans SH24 ended down 18-1/4 cents at $11.60-3/4 a bushel.

Corn futures set the tone. Some analysts attributed the sell-off in corn to commodity funds adding to their already-large , while others cited selling by farmers unloading grain stored from the 2023 harvest.

"Guys have been waiting for higher prices that haven't come," said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for the Zaner Group. "Hope is waning and time is ticking. The farmer is feeling stressed right now, and one of the ways to alleviate that stress is to let the bushels go."

Soybeans declined as the harvest progressed in Brazil, even as analysts debated the size of South American crops.

"The bottom line is that our demand is hurting, and the market keeps telling us we've got enough beans out there," said Tom Fritz, a partner with EFG Group in Chicago.

Traders continue to watch for signs of renewed demand from top global soy buyer China following last week's Lunar New Year holidays and as the government tries to revive a property sector that has cast doubts over China's wider economy. MKTS/GLOB

Meanwhile, expected rainfall over the next few days in Argentina's Pampas region will likely boost the 2023/24 soybean and corn crops, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday.

By last Thursday, 32% of Brazil's planted soybean area had been harvested, according to consultants AgRural, up 9% from a week earlier and ahead of last year's pace.

CBOT wheat futures ended mostly lower. The spot March contract WH24 eked out a higher close but back months, including the most-active May WK24 contract, declined amid adequate global wheat supplies and stiff competition for export business. CBOT May wheat WK24 settled down 1-1/4 cents at $5.78 a bushel.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Peter Hobson in Canberra; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao)

((Julie.ingwersen@thomsonreuters.com; 1-313-484-5283; Reuters Messaging: julie.ingwersen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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