RTRS: U.S. grains slide in global markets sell-off
UNITED STATES - * Financial, economic worries batter commodities
* Weaker oil, strong harvests weigh on grains
* U.S. corn, soybean, wheat fall 4-6 percent to multi-month lows
(Updates with Euronext open, changes dateline, pvs SEOUL)
PARIS/SEOUL, Oct 6 (Reuters) - U.S. and European grain futures tumbled to multi-month lows on Monday as financial markets and oil prices slumped on fears that efforts to curb the credit crisis may not be enough to prevent recession.
"Everybody is running for cover," one European trader said. "Gold is the only commodity going up."
Stock markets took a battering in Asia and Europe on fears that policymakers' moves to contain the financial turmoil could be insufficient.
Oil prices slumped more than 4 percent on Monday to fall under $90 a barrel.
"Uncertainty over the global economic outlook is deepening and dampening grain demand," said Kim Do-young, a trader at KB Futures. "The dollar's strength is also making commodities less attractive and growing signs of a global economic slowdown are hitting the commodities sector across the board."
By 1055 GMT, December corn futures had dropped 4.96 percent to $4.31-1/2 a bushel, 10-month lows, while November soybean fell 6.73 percent to $9.25/1/4 a bushel, a 12-month low.
Bumper output forecasts and benign U.S. crop weather added to the grain markets' overall decline, with a minimum of delays seen for early harvest as only scattered areas were affected by light frost.
Ahead of USDA's updated U.S. crop forecasts due on Friday, consulting firm Informa projected the 2008 U.S. corn crop would reach 12.219 billion bushels, versus the USDA's current corn output estimate of 12.072 billion bushels.
It also pegged the U.S. 2008 soybean crop at 3.001 billion bushels, higher than the USDA's latest forecast of 2.934 billion.
In China, Dalian soybean and soyoil futures were limit down on Monday on their first day of trading after a week-long national holiday.
On the wheat market, better weather further pressed the grain, already under pressure from concerns of lower demand due to the global credit squeeze and an economic slowdown.
Widespread rains over the farming belt in Argentina, the world's No. 4 wheat supplier, have improved the outlook for some 2008/09 wheat fields, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Friday. In Chicago, December wheat skidded 4.80 percent to $6.09-3/4 a bushel, reaching levels not seen since just over a year ago.
In Paris, all crop futures started the week sharply in the red, marking fresh lows of more than a year for wheat and rapeseed, and over two years for maize. By 1055 GMT, the benchmark November milling wheat contract shed 2.97 percent to 155.25 euros a tonne, a level not seen since late May 2007.
Given the extreme nervousness on financial markets, European wheat saw no immediate benefit from the decline of the euro against the dollar, nor from a potential rebound in demand after the recent drop in prices, traders added.
"Our main worry is managing risk. It's better to be very cautious," one said.
The euro slipped to a fresh 13-month low against the dollar on Monday as markets worried about the lack of a coordinated European response to the spread of the financial crisis.
Some analysts did not rule out an overreaction affecting wheat prices.
"The market seems ready for an excessive fall, just as it saw excessive gains last year," French analyst Agritel said in a weekly note.
The analyst estimated that EU wheat could drop to a low of 145 euros a tonne -- a price not seen since early January 2007 -- if the critical support level of 155 euros were breached.
Grains prices as of 1055 GMT Product Last Change Percent Move End 2007 Ytd Percent
move CBOT corn 431.50 -22.50 -4.96 455.50 -5.27 CBOT soy 925.25 -66.75 -6.73 1199.00 -22.83 CBOT wheat 609.75 -30.75 -4.80 885.00 -31.10 CBOT rice 17.65 -70 -3.82 13.55 30.26 US crude 90.00 Euro/dollar 1.3578 (Corn, soybean, wheat U.S. cents per bushel) (Rice U.S. cents per hundredweight) (Crude $ per barrel)
(Reporting by Valerie Parent in Paris, Miyoung Kim in Seoul and Niu Shuping in Beijing; editing by Christopher Johnson)