Mon, June 05, 2023

Corn prices rally to decade high on supply risks


On Monday, US corn prices extended a surge to the highest in a decade as traders weighed threats to supplies from the war in Ukraine.

The most-active maize contract on the Chicago Board of Trade added 0.81% or 6.40 points to $797.40 per metric ton. This price reflects the most substantial level since September 2012.

Corn is on course for a fourth consecutive gain, the longest streak since Moscow’s invasion of Kyiv in late February.

After weeks of fighting, Russian forces encircled the defenders of Mariupol. Nevertheless, Ukrainians did not surrender the crucial port city.

The conflicted countries together account for over a quarter of the world’s trade in wheat. They also hold about a fifth of corn sales.

The war between two of the world’s major grains producers has disrupted shipments from the key Black Sea region.

Accordingly, 1.25 million tons of grains and oilseeds are still on commercial vessels blocked in Ukrainian seaports. Experts anticipated that part of the cargo might deteriorate soon.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that diplomatic talks were at a dead end. This statement signalled that the conflict would grind on.

In line with this, US wheat futures soared 2.13% or 24.50 points to $1,120.50 per metric ton. Conversely, London contracts tried to the grain shed 0.68% or 2.87 points to $416.68 per metric ton.

Meanwhile, the ongoing geopolitical conflict has created opportunities for India to ship more of the commodity.

Correspondingly, top exporter Egypt, which greatly depended on Black Sea grain, has approved India as an origin for wheat imports. The South Asian nation targeted to ship 3.00 million tons of grain to Egypt this year.

Corn rises on US planting delays

Furthermore, corn prices also benefited from the worries of planting delays due to unfavourable weather in the United States.

Accordingly, the US Department of Agriculture said the maize crop was 2.00% seeded as of April 10. However, it came in lower than the five-year average of 3.00%.

At the same time, market participants kept a close watch on grain demand in top importer China, primarily affecting soybean.

The world’s second-largest economy currently grappled with widespread COVID-19 lockdowns. The country has been previously weakened by external trade headwinds, with further downside risks looming.

Like corn, US soybeans futures edged up 0.77% or 13.00 points to $1,695.88 per metric ton. Nevertheless, American farmers expected to plant a record crop area this spring.


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