GRAINS-Corn near three-year low; weighed down by U.S. weather view
* Crop-friendly forecast spurs downturn in U.S. ag markets
* Corn at lowest since October 2010, weighs down wheat
* Soybeans drop as harvest prospects rise
(Updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote) CHICAGO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell 2.4 percent to their lowest in nearly three years on Thursday as yield-boosting weather across the U.S. Midwest raised already high expectations about a bumper harvest this fall. "The bears certainly took back control of the markets," said Arlan Suderman, analyst with Water Street Solutions in Peoria, Illinois. "The focus was on the big crop to be harvested in the weeks ahead. Cooler and wetter forecasts certainly gave them the courage they needed in order to push their short positions." The weather outlook, which includes some rain for the driest areas of the region such as western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, also weighed on soybean futures. Wheat was pulled lower by the drop in corn prices. "Cooler than normal temperatures are helping areas that are short of moisture avoid stress and most of the Corn Belt is forecast to receive rain over the coming week to 10 days," Sterling Smith, futures specialist at Citi Futures, said in a note to clients. "It appears new lows (in prices) are likely." Chicago Board of Trade September corn futures settled down 11-1/2 cents at $4.87-1/2 a bushel. The front-month contract bottomed out at $4.86-1/2, its lowest since hitting $4.64-3/4 on Oct. 5, 2010. New-crop CBOT corn for December delivery dropped 12 cents to $4.67. In addition to the storms, which were expected to bring between 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain during the next three days to much of eastern Nebraska and southwestern Iowa, temperatures were forecast to remain cooler than usual across the Corn Belt, reducing stress on the corn as it finishes pollination. The weather also was seen as beneficial to soybeans but the cool temperatures will slow development of both crops, said Andy Karst, meteorologist at World Weather Inc. The slow development could leave them vulnerable to damage from an early frost this fall, although the market was discounting that possibility. New-crop November soybeans at the Chicago Board of Trade ended down 13-3/4 cents at $11.92-1/2 a bushel, the lowest for the contract in more than three months. The expiring August contract fell 16-1/4 cents at $13.57-3/4 after a volatile session that saw prices fluctuate between negative and positive territory. There have been no deliveries against the August contract. CBOT September soft red winter wheat was 6-1/4 cents lower at $6.58 a bushel, snapping a string of four straight positive sessions. The decline in wheat was the biggest in nearly five weeks. Prices at 1:54 p.m. CDT (1854 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 487.50 -11.50 -2.3% -30.2% CBOT soy 1357.75 -16.25 -1.2% -4.3% CBOT meal 425.40 -9.70 -2.2% 1.1% CBOT soyoil 42.49 0.40 1.0% -13.6% CBOT wheat 658.00 -9.75 -1.5% -15.4% CBOT rice 1585.50 3.00 0.2% 6.7% EU wheat 187.25 -2.50 -1.3% -25.2% US crude 107.86 2.83 2.7% 17.5% Dow Jones 15,634 134 0.9% 19.3% Gold 1309.96 -12.53 -0.9% -21.8% Euro/dollar 1.3215 -0.0085 -0.6% 0.2% Dollar Index 82.3220 0.8690 1.1% 3.2% Baltic Freight 1066 4 0.4% 52.5%
In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel, rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb.
(Editing by Peter Galloway and James Dalgleish)