Chicago Corn: Corn, Wheat Lower on Coronavirus Spike

Soybeans managed small gains but corn and wheat futures both fell on Thursday amid a spike in the number of cases and deaths attributed to coronavirus.

China today announced 242 new deaths from the virus, twice as many as the previous day, while the number of new infections surged by more than 14,000 – mainly due to broader reporting parameters. Markets were buoyed earlier this week on ideas the number of cases might be peaking. Traders and analysts fear the spread of the virus could crimp global economic growth and demand.

Corn was further undermined as the USDA’s weekly export sales report this morning showed bookings of U.S. corn for the week ending Feb. 6 at 968,815 tonnes. That broke the three-week trend of over 1 million tonnes in sales, and was 3.6% lower than the same week last year. March corn fell 3 ½ cents to $3.79 ½ and December lost a penny to $3.92.

Strength in the U.S. dollar helped to pressure wheat, making American supplies appear more expensive to foreign buyers. Wheat export sales were actually reported by the USDA at the top end of expectations, at 643,050 tonnes. That’s almost 8% more than the same week last year. New-crop sales were 44,000 tonnes, which were also on the high end of expected sales. March Chicago wheat fell 3 ¼ cents to $5.44 ¼, March Kansas City lost a nickel to $4.66 and March Minneapolis lost 4 ½ cents to $5.26 ¾.

Although also weighed down by coronavirus in general, soybeans got a lift today from limited domestic selling. Soybean export sales for the week ending Feb. 6 were on the low end of estimates, with the USDA update showing 644,848 tonnes in bookings. That was a reduction of 8.4% from a week earlier and was 39.5% lower than the same week last year. March soybeans were up 3 ¾ cents to $8.96 ¼ and new-crop November ended 2 ½ cents higher at $9.23 ¾.

Live cattle futures were higher today while lean hogs were mainly higher.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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