(Updates U.S. market activity to close, adds USDA crop progress)
By Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures fell 1 percent or more on Monday, pressured by outlooks for drier weather conditions that should let farmers make headway in gathering record-large crops, traders said.
Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures also were lower as investors squared positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s quarterly grain stocks report due on Friday.
The losses in agricultural commodities came despite gains in energy prices, including crude oil, and as a downturn in the dollar made U.S. goods more competitive globally.
“It’s harvest pressure as much as anything,” said Price Futures Group analyst Jack Scoville. “It looks like it’s going to turn a little bit drier here, so that has people thinking (futures) are going to sell off.”
CBOT December corn futures settled 7-1/2 cents lower at $3.29 per bushel and CBOT November soybeans were off 9-3/4 cents to $9.45-1/4.
Rainfall was predicted early this week in the Midwestern crop belt. But largely clear skies were forecast during the next 10 days, an outlook beneficial for corn and soybean crops to dry and for farmers to work fields, MDA Weather Services said in a note to clients.
Heavy showers in recent days waterlogged fields in parts of northern Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Rivers flooded in parts of Iowa, forcing corn and soy processors to shut down in Cedar Rapids, while at least three locks on the Mississippi River were expected to close.
“Harvest delays have continued in saturated portions of the U.S. upper Midwest,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
“Forecasters, though, expect drier conditions will prevail over the next 10 days or so, which will assist harvesting elsewhere. Reports of big crop yields continue to roll in.”
After the close of futures trading, USDA said the corn harvest was 15 percent complete and the soybean harvest 10 percent complete. Analysts polled by Reuters had estimated the corn harvest at 17 percent complete and soybeans 11 percent harvested.
CBOT December wheat was down 8-3/4 cents to $3.96 per bushel. Declines in U.S. wheat prices came as Russian wheat prices rose following a big purchase of Russian wheat by top global buyer Egypt on Friday. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Greg Mahlich, Dan Grebler and David Gregorio)