Bloomberg News

Corn, Soybean, Wheat Prices Drop on Signs Grain Demand May Slump

September 06, 2011

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Corn, soybean and wheat futures fell on speculation that Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis will hinder the global economy, reducing demand for food, livestock feed and fuel made from crops.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials dropped as much as 2.1 percent, and global equity markets fell. Josef Ackermann, the chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank AG, said that market conditions remind him of late 2008, which preceded the deepest global economic slump since the 1930s. The U.S. is the world’s top exporter of corn, soybeans and wheat.

“Increasing European debt problems depressed commodity demand,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Fear and a lack of confidence in governments to address their debt problems and revive economies are reducing speculative buying.”

Corn futures for December delivery fell 4.25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $7.5575 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has jumped 63 percent in the past year after hot, dry weather in July and August hurt crops.

Soybean futures for November delivery dropped 23.25 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.225 a bushel. The oilseed has gained 37 percent in the past year.

Wheat futures for December delivery fell 15.5 cents, or 2 percent, to $7.60 a bushel. The grain has advanced 2.5 percent in the past year.

In the week ended Aug. 30, hedge funds and other large speculators increased bullish bets on agricultural commodities by the most in more than a year on signs of tightening supplies amid adverse weather. Holdings in wheat more than tripled, corn reached an 11-week high, and soybeans jumped to the highest since November.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, government figures show. Wheat is the fourth-largest, behind hay, at $13 billion.

--With assistance from Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago. Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Millie Munshi

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.


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