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Corn Drops to 1-Week Low on Demand Concern for U.S. Grain

Corn dropped to the lowest in more than a week on speculation that planting will accelerate in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower and exporter. Wheat and soybeans also declined.

Warmer, drier weather through May 6 will help firm muddy soils and allow for increased corn sowing across the Midwest, especially from Nebraska to Missouri and in parts of the southern Mississippi River Valley, Commodity Weather Group LLC said in a report. As of April 14, planting was 2 percent completed, the slowest pace since 1993, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“People are looking at weather forecasts that are more favorable for planting corn,” Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst for Jefferies Bache LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Rains this month have improved soil moisture for seed germination and early plant growth.”

Corn futures for delivery in July slumped 1.5 percent to close at $6.235 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $6.1825, the lowest since April 10. Futures for delivery in December after the harvest dropped 2.6 percent to $5.33.

Soybeans fell as a bird flu outbreak in China added to concern that demand for the oilseed in poultry and livestock feed will wane. Imports fell 20 percent to 3.841 million metric tons in March from a year earlier, the Customs General Administration said today.

The death toll from the H7N9 virus in China has climbed to 21, Xinhua News Agency reported today. The outbreak has caused losses for the nation’s poultry industry as consumers avoid chicken.

“The rising death toll from avian flu is intensifying concerns that China’s corn and soybean imports may decline,” Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager for research at Nihon Unicom Inc., said by telephone from Tokyo today.

Soybean futures for July delivery retreated 1.3 percent to $13.6425 a bushel in Chicago, the biggest decline in a week.

Wheat futures for delivery in July fell 1.3 percent to $7.025 a bushel on the CBOT.

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