GRAINS-Corn, soybeans tumble on forecasts for much-needed US rains

Credit: REUTERS/PASCAL ROSSIGNOL

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell more than 4% and soybeans more than 2% on Wednesday, pressured by forecasts for beneficial rains in the Midwest where crops have struggled with dry conditions, analysts said.

Wheat also declined, pressured by the expanding U.S. winter wheat harvest and a larger-than-expected Canadian acreage estimate.

Most-active December corn futures CZ3 on the Chicago Board of Trade settled down 24-1/4 cents at $5.36-3/4 per bushel after touching $5.34, the contract's lowest level since June 9.

CBOT November soybeans SX3 ended down 29-1/4 cents at $12.65 a bushel, and September wheat WU3 fell 29-1/4 cents to finish at $6.69-3/4 a bushel.

Fluctuating weather forecasts for the U.S. Corn Belt have kept traders on edge for weeks. Dry conditions stressed corn and soy crops and sent futures soaring to multi-month highs by mid-June, but outlooks for rain later this week and into next week bolstered production prospects and triggered a sell-off.

"The bears are expecting better Midwest rains this week to slow plummeting crop ratings, and a more beneficial pattern to finally develop into the critical month of July," Matt Zeller, director of market information at brokerage StoneX, said in a note to clients.

The rain prospects have tempered worries about U.S. government data on Monday showing the worst corn and soybean crop condition ratings in decades.

"It seems that funds have begun to exit their recently established long positions in corn and soybeans on increased chances of improved soil moisture in the U.S. Midwest," brokerage Copenhagen Merchants said in a note.

Brokers are also squaring positions ahead of key U.S. acreage and quarterly stocks reports due on Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wheat futures sagged as the market shifted its focus back to ample supplies, after jitters caused by last weekend's aborted mutiny by the Wagner militia in Russia, the world's top exporter.

In Canada, farmers seeded 26.9 million acres to wheat for 2023, a government report showed on Wednesday, the most in 22 years. The figure was above an average of industry expectations for 26.5 million. Canadian growers also planted more canola than the industry was forecasting.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's 2023 wheat harvest may reach at least 24 million metric tons this year, far exceeding official expectations and bouncing back close to pre-war levels, Ukraine's grain traders body said.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis)

((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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