Bloomberg News

Corn Declines as U.S. Acres May Increase to Highest Since 1944

February 15, 2012

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Corn fell in Chicago after the U.S. government said farmers in the world’s biggest producer may plant the grain on the most acres since at least 1944, almost doubling domestic stockpiles.

Sowing will climb to 94 million acres this year, lifting production to 14.235 billion bushels from 12.31 billion bushels a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday. Stockpiles will jump to 1.62 billion bushels from an estimated 843 million bushels, it said, giving projections through 2021.

“Traders and farmers use that baseline report in planning and pricing,” Eric Bailon, president of grain importer Paritas Trading Corp., said by phone today from Manila. “While it may not always be accurate, farmers use it as an indicator of what level prices will be in the next few months and years.”

Corn for May delivery declined 0.5 percent to $6.395 a bushel by 1:15 p.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices slid 11 percent in the past six months, partly on speculation farmers will increase seeding.

The USDA estimates “confirmed what the market had already expected,” said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.

Corn may drop to $5.70 a bushel in the fourth quarter, Paul Deane, an agricultural economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said by phone from Melbourne today. Still, “uncertainty” over U.S. yields may limit declines and the harvest might be smaller than the USDA forecasts, he said.

Soybeans, Wheat

Soybeans for May delivery rose 0.1 percent to $12.6175 a bushel. Sowing of soybeans in the U.S., the largest grower, will drop to 74 million acres from 75 million acres a year earlier on competition from corn, the USDA said. Yields will rise to 44 bushels an acre from 41.3 bushels, lifting production to 3.215 billion bushels from 3.046 billion bushels, it said.

Wheat for May delivery declined 0.6 percent to $6.4275 a bushel. Seeding of the grain will rise to 56.5 million acres from 54.4 million a year earlier, boosting output to 2.12 billion bushels from 1.999 billion bushels, the USDA said.

Milling wheat for May delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris rose 0.1 percent to 204.50 euros ($268.86) a metric ton.

--Editors: John Deane, Claudia Carpenter

To Contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net, Tony C. Dreibus in London at tdreibus@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net


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