GRAINS-Mixed U.S. corn prices, soybeans slip as big harvests near
* USDA crop ratings for corn, soybeans edge higher
* CBOT corn prices around lowest since 2010
(Updates prices, adds analyst comment, changes dateline pvs LONDON) WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug 6 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures traded mixed on Tuesday after matching the previous day's low, which was the lowest level in nearly three years, weighed by prospects of a bumper harvest in the world's top producer. Soybean prices fell and U.S. wheat rebounded modestly after the previous day's one-year low. Shawn McCambridge, an analyst and Jefferies Bache in Chicago, said there was some support for grains from short-covering "but they're not going to get too ambitious because the fundamentals are still bearish." He said "we're just searching for something to grab onto to provide our next direction." Condition ratings for U.S. corn and soybeans edged higher in the latest week, spurred by improving crop health in Illinois, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Monday after U.S. markets had closed. The USDA said good-to-excellent ratings, the highest ranking, for both corn and soybeans rose 1 percentage point to 64 percent as of Aug. 4, beating market forecasts.
Analysts were expecting good-to-excellent ratings of 63 percent for both corn and soybeans, according to the average of 10 estimates in a Reuters poll. Mostly benign weather in July and a positive outlook for August, along with improved Midwest soil moisture, allayed fears of a sudden deterioration in the weather, Standard Chartered analyst Abah Ofon said in a market note. He said the USDA's July yield estimates for corn and soybeans at 156.5 bushels per acre and 44.5 bpa respectively "now look achievable." Chicago Board of Trade September corn rose 0.7 percent or 3-1/4 cents to $4.72-1/2 per bushel as of 10:11 a.m. CDT (1511 GMT), bouncing modestly after matching the previous day's lowest nearby price since October 2010, supported by tight old-crop stocks. New-crop December corn fell 0.5 percent or 2-1/2 cents to $4.58 a bushel. Private crop forecaster Informa Economics trimmed its estimate on Monday for corn production by 0.8 percent to 14.14 billion bushels. That would still be a record crop and tops the USDA's latest forecast for 13.95 billion bushels.
Informa lowered its estimate for U.S. soybean production by 3.3 percent to 3.266 billion bushels, keeping it below USDA's estimate for 3.42 billion. The harvest would still be substantial, but smaller than traders anticipated. CBOT August soybeans, in delivery mode, dipped 0.1 percent or 1-3/4 cents to $13.28 per bushel. New-crop November soybeans fell 0.9 percent or 10-1/4 cents to $11.73 a bushel. "For summer crops right now, the path of least resistance is lower because there's just not a legitimate weather threat out there now," McCambridge said. Wheat prices were slightly higher with the market looking to consolidate after a sharp setback on Monday. CBOT September wheat gained 0.3 percent or 2 cents to $6.47-1/4 a bushel after slumping to a low of $6.41-1/2 on Monday, the weakest level for a nearby contract since June 2012. "Market sentiment would suggest that prices will continue to fall in the short term, despite the price level already being very low," Commerzbank said in a market note. Egypt's main wheat-buying agency, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, bypassed U.S. supplies and instead bought 120,000 tonnes of Romanian and Ukrainian wheat for shipment in Sept. 21-30.
Prices at 10:11 a.m. CDT (1511 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 472.50 3.25 0.7% -32.3% CBOT soy 1328.00 -1.75 -0.1% -6.4% CBOT meal 398.40 -4.20 -1.0% -5.3% CBOT soyoil 42.40 -0.32 -0.8% -13.8% CBOT wheat 647.25 2.00 0.3% -16.8% CBOT rice 1573.50 -2.50 -0.2% 5.9% EU wheat 183.50 -0.50 -0.3% -26.7% US crude 105.24 -1.32 -1.2% 14.6% Dow Jones 15,493 -119 -0.8% 18.2% Gold 1286.76 -16.58 -1.3% -23.1% Euro/dollar 1.3310 0.0053 0.4% 0.9% Dollar Index 81.5730 -0.3020 -0.4% 2.3% Baltic Freight 1046 -12 -1.1% 49.6%
(Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Grant McCool)