GRAINS-Corn touches 2-1/2 year low on nearly ideal U.S. weather
* Moderate temperatures, rain benefit pollinating corn
* Soymeal prices retreat from new contract high
* Wheat pressured by U.S. winter crop harvest
(Updates with U.S. trading, changes dateline, pvs dateline AMSTERDAM/SINGAPORE) CHICAGO, July 23 (Reuters) - New-crop U.S. corn futures fell to their lowest level in more than 2-1/2 years on Tuesday as forecasts for nearly ideal weather during the crop's key development phase buoyed hopes for a record harvest. Soybean meal sank in a retreat from a new contract high. Moderate temperatures and occasional light rain over the next week to 10 days will aid the pollinating corn crop in the U.S. Midwest and boost soybean growth, according to Global Weather Monitoring. Pollination is the most important period of development for determining the size of the corn harvest. Food companies, ethanol producers and livestock producers are hoping a massive crop will replenish inventories that are expected to drop to a 17-year low by Aug. 31. "You couldn't ask for better timing," Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group, said about the arrival of mild, wet weather. Chicago Board of Trade new-crop December corn fell 2.8 percent to $4.84 a bushel by 9:35 a.m. CDT (1435 GMT), while November soybeans shed 0.6 percent to $12.81 a bushel. The outlook for beneficial weather overshadowed declining crop condition ratings issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday, traders said. The USDA rated 63 percent of corn as good to excellent as of Sunday, down from 66 percent a week earlier, and 64 percent of soybeans as good to excellent, down 1 percentage point. The USDA said 43 percent of the corn crop was silking, the reproductive phase that occurs during pollination. That was above analysts' expectations for 40 percent, but below the five-year average of 56 percent, following planting delays in the spring. Thee risk of a "striking death blow to 2013 U.S. corn yields is closing," said Rich Feltes, vice president of research for R.J. O'Brien. Corn and soybean crops are in better shape than they were a year ago when the United States, the largest food exporter, suffered its worst drought since the 1930s. Old-crop supplies are tight due to the drought-reduced harvest and strong demand.
SOYMEAL PULLS BACK CBOT August soymeal was down 2.5 percent at $489.70 per short tonne, pulling back from a contract high of $521. The contract climbed the daily, exchange-imposed trading limit of $20 on Monday as U.S. processors scrambled to find old-crop soy supplies to crush into meal. Front-month August soybean futures fell as cash basis bids weakened in key locations in the interior U.S. Midwest. The spike in futures on Monday sparked new country sales by farmers, easing tight supplies, dealers said. Wheat futures also edged lower, with the U.S. harvest finishing up and bringing new supplies into farmers' bins. The USDA, in Monday's crop progress report, said the winter wheat harvest was 75 percent complete, in line with analysts' expectations. Losses in corn futures added pressure to wheat, as both grains are used for livestock feed, traders said. CBOT September wheat slid 1 percent to $6.53-1/2 a bushel.
Prices at 9:37 a.m. CDT (1437 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 528.00 -12.75 -2.4% -24.4% CBOT soy 1487.75 -32.50 -2.1% 4.9% CBOT meal 488.50 -13.90 -2.8% 16.1% CBOT soyoil 45.05 -0.36 -0.8% -8.4% CBOT wheat 652.75 -7.00 -1.1% -16.1% CBOT rice 1559.00 18.50 1.2% 4.9% EU wheat 191.75 -0.75 -0.4% -23.4% US crude 106.85 -0.1 -0.1% 16.4% Dow Jones 15,557 12 0.1% 18.7% Gold 1331.51 -3.53 -0.3% -20.5% Euro/dollar 1.3198 0.0015 0.1% 0.0% Dollar Index 82.1750 -0.0440 -0.1% 3.0% Baltic Freight 1127 -8 -0.7% 61.2%
Paris futures prices in euros per tonne, London wheat in pounds per tonne and CBOT in cents per bushel.
(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Ivana Sekularac in Amsterdam; Editing by Marguerita Choy)