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GRAINS-Corn climbs to 4-year top as rains stall U.S. planting

Naveen Thukral

* Chicago corn set to finish week with almost 7% gain

* Rains, flooding halt field work in U.S. Midwest

* Wheat futures ease after climbing to 6-month high

(Adds details, quote) SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose to a four-year high on Friday and were poised to finish the week with a gain of almost 7% as more rains in parts of the U.S. Midwest threaten to stall planting. Wheat prices slid after jumping to a six-month high, while soybeans were little changed, having risen for the last four sessions. The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade climbed to its highest since July 2015 at $4.45-1/4, extending gains into a fourth session. Corn was up 6.6% for the week after closing down 2.6% last week. Wheat rose to its highest since December at $5.37-1/2 a bushel and has added nearly 6% for the week in what would be its fifth straight weekly gain. The corn market got a boost this week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut its forecast of the U.S. 2019 corn yield in a monthly report and slashed its forecast of 2019/20 ending stocks, citing "unprecedented planting delays." "It is a serious matter now, it will further reduce yields and there are expectations that the USDA will further cut production estimates in the next report," said one Singapore-based trader. Soybeans have gained ground for the last four sessions as persistent rain in the Midwest crop belt raised concerns that later-planted beans would be hit too. The USDA said the U.S. soybean crop was 60% seeded by June 9, compared to the five-year average of 88%. Soybeans have gained nearly 4% this week, rebounding from last week's 2.4% loss. A worsening of European soft wheat's competitiveness on world markets led crop consultancy Strategie Grains to cut by more than 1 million tonnes its forecast for EU soft wheat exports to third countries for the 2019/20 season on Thursday.

Strategie Grains now expects the European Union to export 22.1 million tonnes of soft wheat in the season starting on July 1, down from 23.2 million estimated last month. Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, wheat, soyoil and soymeal futures contracts on Thursday, traders said. Trade estimates of net fund buying in corn ranged widely from 18,000 to 50,000 contracts.

Grains prices at 0423 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSICBOT wheat 535.00 -0.50 -0.09% +3.28% 477.98 71CBOT corn 443.50 1.50 +0.34% +3.68% 396.33 76CBOT soy 887.50 -0.50 -0.06% +3.29% 846.46 69CBOT rice 11.67 $0.02 +0.17% +0.82% $11.32 57WTI crude 52.55 $0.27 +0.52% +2.76% $58.04

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.127 -$0.006 -0.49% -0.34%USD/AUD 0.6899 -0.006 -0.88% -0.89%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)