U.S. grains: Soybeans up 1.4 per cent as demand increases

U.S. soybean futures rose 1.4 per cent to their highest level since Sept. 19 on strong end user demand, traders said.

Corn futures also climbed, supported by short-covering, but wheat was mostly lower on technical weakness.

Soybeans were buoyed early by a U.S. Agriculture Department report that private exporters sold 290,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China.

“Beans took off from the get-go off of talk of more Chinese interest in U.S. beans and more announcements of business underlining that the United States is already over-subscribed on soybean export business,” Charlie Sernatinger, an analyst for ED+F Man Capital, said in a research note.

Traders said the market was building in a premium ahead of what is expected to be more bullish news for soybeans in the coming days.

“The next week-plus is expected to bring strong demand numbers to support that cause, including continued robust exports, an anticipated USDA carryout cut tomorrow, and November NOPA crush a week from today,” Matt Zeller, director of marketing information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients.

Analysts expect the USDA’s monthly supply and demand report, due Tuesday, to estimate 2013-14 U.S. soybean ending stocks at 153 million bushels, down from the government’s earlier estimate of 170 million.

Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for January delivery settled up 18-1/4 cents at $13.43-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). Prices peaked at $13.46-3/4 a bushel, their highest since $13.61-1/4 on Sept. 19.

CBOT corn for March delivery rose 4-1/2 cents to $4.28-1/2 a bushel. Some technical buying pushed corn prices through their 30-day moving average. But the market faced resistance at the 40-day moving average, which prices have not surpassed since Sept. 3.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat was down 1/2 cent at $6.50-1/2 a bushel, its fourth straight losing session. The market suffered a technical breakdown after early strength failed to push it through its 20-day moving average.

A cold snap across the U.S. Plains and key growing areas of the soft red winter wheat region limited declines, although much of the crop was considered safe from damage.

Sub-freezing temperatures and snow blanketed portions of the U.S. Plains and southern Midwest over the weekend, threatening some winter wheat, analysts said.

Temperatures were cold enough this weekend to have damaged crops across five per cent of the U.S. Plains hard red winter wheat belt, with west-central Nebraska the hardest hit, MDA Weather Services said on Monday.

– Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain and oilseed markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago.