* Spot CIF corn basis 10 cts over futures, lowest since 2009
* Corn supplies rise as harvest, barges backing up at Gulf
By Karl Plume
Sept 6 Cash premiums for spot corn barges at the
U.S. Gulf Coast plunged to a near-three-year low this week as
newly harvested supplies were piling up at export terminals
which have yet to recover fully from Hurricane Isaac, trade
Some grain export houses which sustained only minimal damage
from the category 1 storm that came ashore near New Orleans last
week expected to resume normal operations by the end of the week
but others may remain offline for longer, they said.
Meanwhile, rains from the storm have raised the water level
on the Mississippi River, allowing more grain to be shipped to
the Gulf after weeks of restricted traffic due to low water on
the major shipping waterway.
"Corn barges are stacking up at the Gulf," a barge trader
said. "They're running bigger tows now with the rain we've had
and the (storage) space down there is pretty much filled up."
September-loaded corn barges shipped to the Gulf Coast,
including insurance and freight, traded late on Wednesday as low
as 10 cents a bushel over Chicago Board of Trade December
futures and were lightly bid at similar prices on Thursday. That
was down nearly 30 cents from bids earlier in the week and the
lowest spot basis values since December 2009.
The market was pressured by ample supplies of corn at the
Gulf as the U.S. harvest was well underway and much of the crop
from the southern United States was flowing to the export
Exporters have been unable to load ocean-going vessels for
more than a week so, with little to no elevator space to store
the corn, much of the arriving grain would need to be stored in
barges on the water, incurring demurrage charges.
The already-slow pace of export shipments stalled last week
as Isaac forced the closure of grain elevators and other
facilities for several days. Many of those facilities were
struggling to return to normal operations due to flooding and
power outages in the wake of the storm.
Agribusiness giant ADM, which has four terminals at the
Louisiana Gulf, said on Wednesday that its facilities sustained
some damage from wind and rain but a return to normal operations
was expected this week.
Other elevators, including the southernmost grain house
owned by CHS, were taking longer to come back online, trade
In the week ended Aug. 30, only 3.46 million bushels of corn
were inspected for export at the Gulf, compared with 17.27
million bushels in the same week a year earlier, according to
U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)