Corn Tops $5 for First Time Since 2014 on Dryness in Argentina

By Christopher Walljasper

CHICAGO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and corn futures climbed to fresh 6-1/2 year highs on Wednesday, as worries about dry weather hurting Argentine crops attracted speculative buyers, analysts said.

Wheat futures fell on a lack of fresh supportive news and an upturn in the dollar, which tends to make U.S. grains less competitive globally.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans closed 14-1/2 cents higher at $13.61-1/2 per bushel after earlier reaching$13.78-1/4, the highest price on a continuous chart of the most-active contract since June 2014.

CBOT March corn added 3-1/4 cents to $4.95 per bushel after reaching $5.02-3/4 in mid-session trading, the highest benchmark corn price since May 2014.

March wheat slipped 6-1/2 cents to $6.47-1/2 per bushel.

Dry weather continues to threaten soy and corn yield prospects in Argentina, and labor issues in the South American country have added to concerns about supplies.

"A water deficit persists mainly in Argentina, leading to fears of a downward revision of corn production," consultancy Agritel said.

The union representing Argentine port-side grain inspectors was to meet on Wednesday with agro-export companies to try to clinch a wage deal to end a strike that started on Dec. 9.

Underscoring recent volatility in the grain markets, the CME Group, parent of the CBOT, said it would raise the margins to trade its soybean, corn and wheat futures after Wednesday's close.

"We have shaken some shorts out of the market with the CME increasing their (margins) ... If we continue to see a rally in this market, margins could potentially go up again," said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International.

Meanwhile, traders have begun adjusting their positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's next monthly supply/demand report on Jan. 12, in which the government will release updated estimates of U.S. and South American crop production and usage.

(Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


Latest News

Is There Anything New from the Latest Farm Bill Debate?

We need to know the final funding level in the debt limit debate before there are can be any attempt to mix and match farm bill titles and funds.

Big Oil is Teaming Up With Big Ag, And it Could Turn Cover Crops Into the New Cash Crop for Farmers

Renewable diesel is revving up interest from both agriculture and the oil industry, and now oil and agriculture companies are teaming up to find additional crop sources to fuel the growing demand.

Tyson Foods Plant Closure Raises Antitrust Concerns Among U.S. Farmers and Experts

Tyson Foods gave its chicken suppliers two months' notice of its plan to shut a Virginia processing plant in May, raising concerns among farmers and legal experts about Tyson's compliance with antitrust regulations.

The Scoop Podcast: Overcome Barriers, Instill Confidence, and Improve Performance

Tim McArdle is working as the ResponsibleAg Industry Ambassador. He highlights how ResponsbileAg is an industry program for the industry that “lights the way for you to be in compliance.”

Southern States: Rebuilding for The Next 100 Years

This year marks the cooperative’s 100th year in business. And as Steve Becraft describes, there’s more to celebrate than the centennial milestone.

The Carbon Games: Agricultural Producers Still Looking for the Leaderboard

“What we need to do to move carbon past the starting line is to show farmers the scoreboard and tell them exactly what they need to do to earn their points,” said Mitchell Hora.