April 9, 2012 / 4:05 AM / in 6 years

GRAINS-US corn falls 1 pct on liquidation before USDA data

* Position-squaring before USDA's April report
    * Report seen cutting stocks, but could hold a surprise
    * U.S. corn plantings seen at 8 pct complete-Reuters POLL
    * U.S. cold snap this week not seen harming crops

    By Sam Nelson	
    CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) - U.S. corn prices fell 1 percent
on Monday to a one-week low in its biggest drop in five trading
days, and soy eased, as futures traders liquidated long holdings
amid worries of possible bearish surprises in the USDA grain
report on Tuesday.	
    "It's choppy before tomorrow's supply and demand numbers.
Everyone is expecting the government to cut the stocks but there
always could be a surprise," said Brian Hoops, an analyst for
Midwest Market Solutions.	
    Wheat turned higher on short-covering which was also tied to
position-squaring before Tuesday's government data.	
    CBOT May corn was down 9-1/4 cents per bushel at
$6.49, May soy was down 3 at $14.31 and May wheat 
was up 4-1/2 cents at $6.43.	
    The USDA will update its monthly global crop production and
U.S. ending stocks forecast at 7:30 a.m. CDT (1230 GMT) on
    U.S. corn supplies in the report are expected to fall to a
fresh 16-year low before the fall harvest, said analysts polled
by Reuters. That could signal razor-thin supplies this year,
which could stoke food inflation and hurt margins for food
    "After the report, everyone will turn their attention to
weather and corn plantings. I expect plantings at 8 to 10
percent this week but after this week they'll plant at record
pace because the insurance safe dates will have been met," Hoops
    If farmers plant too early they risk losing crop insurance
benefits should a disaster strike their crops.	
    Farmers have been planting corn at the fastest pace ever in
the U.S. Midwest grain belt this spring, leading to some concern
the crop may be vulnerable to harm from cold weather.	
    Cold snaps each morning most of this week should remain in
the northern portion of the U.S. Midwest, posing a minor threat
to the 2012 corn crop since only a small portion of it has been
planted and very little has emerged, agricultural meteorologists
    A Reuters poll of 14 analysts pegged U.S. corn seeding at 8
percent complete as of April 8, which would double the previous
early-April record of 4 percent. A year ago, farmers had seeded
3 percent of their crop. [ID:nL2E8F95C2	
    Most Midwest farmers kept their planters in the equipment
shed, even as farmers further south made good progress. The
farmers who held back were concerned about insurance and worried
that the weather might take a turn for the worse following a
record warm March, analysts said.	
    "A lot of these guys are still going to go ahead and wait,"
said Shawn McCambridge, an analyst with Jefferies Bache. "It is
only early April. Even though the weather has been favorable, we
can get a shot of cold weather again."	
    Cold weather can hinder seed development, reducing the yield
benefits of early planting, McCambridge added.    	
    Profit-taking also weighed on the soybean market after
prices climbed to a seven-month high on a steady stream of lower
South American crop forecasts and expectations that the United
States would capture the lion's share of soy export demand.	
    Friday's weekly report from the U.S. Commodity Futures
Trading Commission (CFTC) confirmed a big buildup of long
positions in the soybean and corn markets.	
    Large speculators increased their net long position on
Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures and options for a ninth
consecutive week, reaching another record high in the wake of a
government report on plantings and stockpiles. 	
 Prices at 2:11 p.m. CDT (1911 GMT)      
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  649.00    -9.25  -1.4%    0.4%
 CBOT soy                  1431.00    -3.00  -0.2%   19.4%
 CBOT meal                  388.80    -3.10  -0.8%   25.7%
 CBOT soyoil                 56.64     0.08   0.1%    8.7%
 CBOT wheat                 643.00     4.50   0.7%   -1.5%
 CBOT rice                 1487.50   -17.00  -1.1%    1.8%
 EU wheat                   211.25     2.00   1.0%    4.3%
 US crude                   102.45    -0.86  -0.8%    3.7%
 Dow Jones                  12,968      -92  -0.7%    6.1%
 Gold                      1644.00    13.78   0.8%    5.1%
 Euro/dollar                1.3117   0.0019   0.1%    1.3%
 Dollar Index              79.7390  -0.1470  -0.2%   -0.5%
 Baltic Freight                928        2   0.2%  -46.6%
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