U.S. corn futures are poised for a lower start to Friday's day session, succumbing to the profit taking pressures that have emerged in the absence of fresh supportive fundamental news.
Analysts expect corn to open 5 cents to 7 cents lower. In overnight electronic trading, corn for May delivery, the most-active contract dropped 7 3/4 cents, or 1%, to $7.46 1/2 a bushel.
After setting a fresh all-time record of $7.83 3/4 on Monday, the market has been dragged lower this week by profit-taking and pressure from other commodities, including crude oil, due to worries about the global economy and demand.
In particular, worries about inflation in China, which could prompt the government to enact measures to control growth that could curb commodity demand, has weighed on the markets, analysts said.
China's March consumer inflation grew the fastest in more than two years to 5.4%, sparking concerns the government may tighten monetary policy further and introduce tougher price control measures. Inflationary pressures will likely trigger tougher controls on food prices, which rose 11.7% from a year earlier in March.
"Concerns about China, impact commodities in general, as a slow down in there growth is a bearish signal for demand, as China has been the growth engine of the world for the last few years," a broker at the CBOT said Friday.
However, supply and demand factors in the corn market will likely keep a floor under prices for the foreseeable future, analysts said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects extremely low stockpiles by the end of the summer, which is supportive to nearby contracts.
Longer-term, traders and analysts are cautiously watching U.S. corn-belt weather with concern about whether planting could be delayed. Earlier planting is typically better for final corn yields, as it reduces the chance the crop will still be developing when the season's first frost hits.
New crop, deferred month contracts that represent crops planted in the spring and harvested in autumn are expected to strengthen in relation to old crop contracts.
"Earlier this week, May corn (old crop) traded as much as $1.37/bushel premium to new crop December, but has narrowed to trading nearer $1.00 premium as the market becomes concerned that the weather shall make it difficult to get all of the corn intended planted," according to the Gartman Newsletter. "Extended weather forecasts have as much as 2 to 4 inches of more rain scheduled for the Dakotas and Minnesota, and if that proves so, then that acreage may not get planted to corn as planned or hoped," the Gartman Newsletter added.
The Telvent DTN weather forecast calls for rain, thunderstorms and even snow to keep spring field work and early planting slow during this week. This pattern will continue to feature additional threats of moderate to heavy rain and severe weather during the 10-day period, Telvent said.