Bloomberg News

Corn Leads Crop Rebound as USDA Cuts Output Forecasts Amid Rains

August 12, 2013

Corn Leads Crop Rebound as USDA Cuts Output Forecasts Amid Rains

Average corn yields this year may reach 154.4 bushels an acre, down from 156.5 bushels estimated in July and up from 123.4 bushels in 2012. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Corn futures rebounded in Chicago and soybeans posted the biggest gain in 13 months after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said unusually heavy rains will mean smaller harvests than the records forecast last month.

U.S. farmers, the world’s largest corn growers, will collect 13.763 billion bushels, less than the 13.95 billion forecast in July and below the 14.036 billion forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg survey, a USDA report today showed. The department predicted soybean output will be 3.255 billion bushels, down from 3.42 billion expected last month and 3.357 billion forecast by analysts.

Prices for both crops slid into bear markets this year, reducing costs for buyers including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM:US) and Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN:US), on expectations that record harvests would bolster global inventories eroded by a U.S. drought in 2012. Heavy rains in the Midwest during May and June delayed corn and soybean planting, and cool, dry weather during the past month slowed crop development.

“Cool weather in July hurt yield potential more than expected, and now the markets are adding a weather-risk premium,” said Dale Durchholz, the senior market analyst for AgriVisor LLC in Bloomington, Illinois. “The smaller U.S. corn and soybean crops were a surprise and will increase the importance for an extended growing season.”

Corn futures for December delivery rose 2.4 percent to close at $4.64 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest advance since July 9. Before the USDA report, corn reached $4.465, the lowest for a most-active contract since September 2010. Prices have tumbled 43 percent in the past 12 months.

Soybean futures for November delivery rallied 3.6 percent to $12.2525 a bushel on the CBOT, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since June 2012. The price touched $11.625 on Aug. 7, the lowest in 18 months.

Record Crops

Even with reduced yield prospects, domestic corn output will be a record, reducing average cash prices to $4.90, down 30 percent from $6.95 forecast in the year that ends Aug. 31, the USDA said. Cash-soybean prices may average $11.35, down 21 percent from $14.40 forecast this year, as U.S. production jumps 8 percent to the second-highest ever, the agency said.

World corn production this year will rise 12 percent to 957.1 million metric tons from 858.8 million last year, the USDA said. Reserve inventories before the 2014 harvest will jump 22 percent to 150.17 million, from 123.11 million estimated on Oct. 1 this year, the biggest jump in nine years. World soybean inventories next year will rise 16 percent to a record 72.27 million tons, the government forecast.

“There is still a burdensome supply of grain developing this year,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Rallies may be limited because U.S. supplies will need to stay competitive to boost demand.”

Reduced Costs

ADM, the grain processor that makes animal feed, sweeteners and ethanol, is “optimistic” about margins in 2014 and 2015 because of rising corn supply, Chief Operating Officer Juan Luciano said on a conference call Aug. 6. Shares of the Decatur, Illinois-based company are up 41 percent this year.

Tyson Foods, the largest U.S. meat processor, will report a 37 percent gain in profit to $797.6 million this year according to the mean of eight analysts estimates (TSN:US) compiled by Bloomberg. Shares of the Springdale, Arkansas-based company rallied 61 percent this year. Tyson handled an average of 41.4 million chickens, 403,000 hogs and 132,000 head of cattle last year, data on its website show.

Crop Yields

Average corn yields this year may reach 154.4 bushels an acre, down from 156.5 estimated in July and up from 123.4 in 2012. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 158 bushels, on average. Harvested acreage was forecast at 89.1 million acres this year, unchanged from last month, the USDA said.

Domestic reserves of corn on Aug. 31, 2014, before next year’s harvest, will total 1.837 billion bushels, down from 1.959 billion (49.77 million metric tons) forecast in July, the USDA said. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting 2.013 billion, on average. Inventories before the start of this year’s harvest will total 719 million bushels, compared with 729 million forecast a month earlier and 989 million last year.

Wheat futures for December delivery advanced 0.3 percent to $6.49 a bushel on the CBOT. Prices rallied as much as 1.7 percent after the report and dropped 0.7 percent before it.

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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Companies Mentioned

  • ADM
    (Archer-Daniels-Midland Co)
    • $45.65 USD
    • 0.25
    • 0.55%
  • TSN
    (Tyson Foods Inc)
    • $39.05 USD
    • 0.70
    • 1.79%
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