CBOT Corn: Government As Market Manipulator?

A few weeks ago, Agrimoney.com reported that the Wasde report showed a hit to corn supplies that was the equivalent of wiping out the crops of both Canada and Russia. Then in early July, the USDA crop report came out suggesting a bumper crop in corn. Curiously, most of us who follow the fundamentals as well as the technicals were stunned by this new news.

I spoke with almost a dozen analysts for my article Hungry Hogs Lift Corn Prices which was published in Barron’s on June 27. Not one had mentioned the possibility of a bumper crop in corn. And these are guys who have people on the ground all over the world feeding them information.

Yesterday, agrimoney.com ran an article that suggested that the USDA was now going back on their original assessment and bringing their forecast back in line with the original Wasde report:

“Corn futures soared 3% in Chicago after US officials, citing China’s spate of import orders, curbed expectations for domestic supplies of the grain despite the largest sowings since World War II.

The US Department of Agriculture lifted estimates for corn inventories for both 2010-11 and next season, reflecting data two weeks ago showing farmers had planted far more of the crop than had been thought, and that stocks left over from last harvest were bigger than had been expected.

However, the increases were less than the market had been expecting, reflecting the impact of lower price expectations fostered by the raised supplies in stoking demand.”

If you can charge Goldman Sachs with price manipulation in crude oil, how is the USDA any different if they pull the same nonsense in the corn market?


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