April 24, 2019 / 9:53 PM / a year ago

GRAINS-Corn, soy to multimonth lows on rising supplies, uncertain demand

 (Updates with closing U.S. prices)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, April 24 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell to
their lowest level in seven months on Wednesday and spot soybean
futures hit a 5-1/2-month low on ample global supplies and
dimming prospects for U.S. export business, analysts said.
    Wheat also declined, with Chicago Board of Trade futures
hitting a one-month low while K.C. and Minneapolis Grain
Exchange futures set across-the-board contract lows.
    Benchmark CBOT July corn settled down 4-1/4 cents at
$3.56 a bushel after hitting a contract low at $3.54-3/4. May
corn dipped to $3.45-1/2, the lowest spot price on a
continuous chart since Sept. 20.
    CBOT July soybeans ended down 6-3/4 cents at $8.68-3/4
a bushel and the May contract touched $8.54-1/2, the
lowest spot soybean price since Nov. 8. CBOT July wheat
 fell 6-1/2 cents to settle at $4.38-1/2.
    Commodity funds held a record-large net short position in
CBOT corn futures as of April 16, data from the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission showed, and traders said funds have
expanded that position in the days since.
    Funds also hold sizable net short positions in soybeans and
wheat futures, betting on further market declines.
    "The funds are on a roll. They are unlikely to change until
there is a significant shift in the fundamentals," said Rich
Feltes, vice president for research with R.J. O'Brien.
    "The market knows that the window for getting old-crop bean
business off to China is closing. Unlike last year, we've got a
30-million-tonne increase in South American corn production, and
11-million-tonne-plus more in beans, so (U.S.) export prospects
are certainly dim," Feltes said.
    Traders seemed unconcerned by wet conditions in the Midwest
that have slowed the start of spring planting. Ample soil
moisture could benefit crops later, Feltes noted.
    And the spread of African swine fever in China's hog herd
has reduced demand for soymeal, a protein-rich animal feed.
    "There is a strong soybean supply push coming from South
America at a time when we have uncertainty over demand because
of the African swine fever in China," said Ole Houe, director of
advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities.
    CBOT wheat slipped on strong Northern Hemisphere crop
prospects as well as a stronger dollar, which tends to make U.S.
grains less competitive globally. The U.S. dollar index
reached its highest mark since June 2017.
    Statistics Canada projected total Canadian wheat plantings
for 2019 at 25.7 million acres, up 4% from a year ago and
exceeding the average trade expectation.
    In the Black Sea region, favorable weather during spring
grain sowing in Russia and Ukraine is increasing the chances of
another large harvest.
    "For wheat, we are expecting bigger crops in the Black Sea
region and Europe compared with last year," Houe said.      
    CBOT settlement prices:     
                                 Net     Pct  Volume
                        Last  change  change        
 CBOT wheat     WN9   438.50   -6.50    -1.5   65495
 CBOT corn      CN9   356.00   -4.25    -1.2  288898
 CBOT soybeans  SN9   868.75   -6.75    -0.8  121632
 CBOT soymeal   SMN9  304.00   -0.50    -0.2   73829
 CBOT soyoil    BON9   28.22   -0.15    -0.5   68714
    NOTE: CBOT July wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, July soymeal in dollars per short ton and July soyoil in
cents per lb.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago
Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral
in Singapore
Editing by Matthew Lewis and Sandra Maler)
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