Special Report: Bearish USDA Corn Acreage Estimate Weakens Grain Futures

1 July 2013, at 12:49pm

ANALYSIS - US "new-crop" December corn futures fell to a 12-month low of $5.11 a bushel Friday after the US Department of Agriculture unexpectedly raised its estimate of US corn plantings this spring, writes Jim Wyckoff, grain analyst.

USDA estimated US corn plantings at 97.4 million acres, up from its previous estimate of 97.28 million acres in March, and well above the average trade estimate of 95.34 million acres. Total US corn stocks as of June 1 stood at 2.764 billion bushels. Traders expected a figure of 2.856 billion bushels.

The bearish corn data also helped to pull soybean and wheat futures prices lower.

The USDA raised its estimate of planted U.S. soybean acreage by a lesser amount than expected, to 77.728 million acres, while traders expected 78.024 million, and compares to 77.126 million acres in the March report.

The government also reported .S soybean stockpiles as of June 1 were slightly lower than analysts had predicted. U.S. soybean stocks as of June 1 stood at 435 million bushels, while traders expected 441 million bushels.

U.S. wheat futures prices fell after the USDA raised its estimate of this year's wheat plantings, while analysts had expected a cut. All wheat acres were estimated at 56.530 million, while traders expected 55.751 million acres, and compares to 56.440 million in the March USDA report. US wheat stocks stood at 718 million bushels on June 1. Traders expected 750 million bushels.