Corn Plunges by Chicago Exchange Limit as Demand Dwindles; Soybeans Slump

Corn futures tumbled the most allowed by the Chicago Board of Trade after a government report showed that demand is easing for supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans fell from a two-week high.

U.S. exporters sold 348,969 metric tons of corn in the week ended April 21, down 43 percent from a week earlier and the smallest amount in six months, the Department of Agriculture said today. Prices doubled in the 12 months after adverse weather limited the size of last year’s crop and demand rose for livestock feed and grain-based fuel.

“Export sales are showing a little bit of a slowdown in demand,” said Bill Gentry, a broker at Risk Management Commodities Inc. in Lafayette, Indiana. “We are seeing some liquidation” of bets on higher prices, he said.

Corn futures for July delivery fell by the limit of 30 cents, or 4 percent, to close at $7.2925 bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the CBOT, the biggest decline since March 15. The most-active contract reached a 33-month high at $7.8875 on April 11.

The price also fell on forecasts for drier weather in western areas of the U.S. Midwest in the next eight days that may allow for increased planting, said Dale Durchholz, senior market analyst at AgriVisor LLC in Bloomington, Illinois.

About 9 percent of the crop was planted as of April 24, compared with 46 percent a year earlier, the government said this week.

“Worries about U.S. planting delays may have peaked,” Durchholz said. “There is plenty of time to plant corn next month, and people are going to be surprised by how many acres farmers can plant in a short period.”

Soybeans fell as overseas and domestic demand eased, Durchholz said. Futures for July delivery dropped 31 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $13.535 a bushel in Chicago. Earlier, the price touched $14.005, the highest since April 11.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.

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