October 31, 2008


CBOT Corn Review on Thursday: Drops on demand, dollar, profit-taking



Weak demand, outside pressure and profit-taking pushed Chicago Board of Trade corn futures lower Thursday, traders said.


December corn ended down 11 1/4 cents to US$4.09 1/2 per bushel, and March corn ended down 10 3/4 cents to US$4.27 1/2.


A rebound in the dollar set the stage for corns losses, traders said, as many commodities, including crude oil, fell. A stronger dollar makes U.S. exports less attractive.


"Demand destruction" continued to loom over the market, with weak export sales reported Thursday morning adding to the bearish tonnee. Net sales of 413,100 metric tonnes were well below analyst expectations of 600,000 to 1 million metric tonnes.


Despite gains of more than 50 cents during the first three days of the week, Thursdays activity demonstrated the market is still unable to sustain a strong rally, said Mike Zuzolo, senior analyst for Risk Management Commodities.


"We still remain in a low-confidence mode on rallies, and thats because volume is thin, and volatility is high," Zuzolo said.


Profit-taking was seen given Wednesdays 30-cent gains and the end of the month approaching Friday.


Traders said there is little attention being paid to the crop, but weather was considered bearish, with warm, dry conditions that will facilitate harvest expected for the next five days. Wet weather that would delay harvest could arrive in the U.S. corn belt next week into the weekend, according to DTN Meteorlogix.


Funds were sellers Thursday. A trader noted that Rosenthal sold 10,000 contracts on the day.


In international news, the International Grains Council forecasts corn production to reach 773 million tonnes in 2008-09, an increase of 2 million tonnes from last months forecast.


The IGC noted that wet weather has increased the availability of lower- quality wheat, which is expected to cut into corn used for animal feed.


Still, consumption is expected to increase 1.9% on the year, with corn stocks falling 14% on the year, to a five-year low of 86 million tonnes.


CBOT oats futures were virtually unchanged. December oats were flat at US$2.39 1/2 per bushel and March oats were up 1/4 cent to US$2.57 1/4.


Ethanol futures were lower, with the December contract ending down US$0.032 to US$1.790 per gallon.


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