U.S. grains: Corn futures extend winning streak

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures firmed to their highest in nearly four weeks on Wednesday, closing in positive territory for the fifth day in a row on short-covering after weakening in overnight trading, traders said.

Soybean futures eased on a round of profit-taking but closed well above session lows as speculators looking to extend a months-long rally sparked by concerns about the South American crop stepped into the market as it declined.

“The funds continue to defend their position,” said Jason Britt, president of Central States Commodities. “Every time we have this break, everybody is pretty conditioned to buy the break.”

Wheat futures weakened, pressured by a firm U.S. dollar and ample global supplies that weighed on overseas demand for U.S. exports.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybean futures settled down five cents at $10.75-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). The contract bottomed out at $10.63-3/4 a bushel.

CBOT July corn ended up 2-1/2 cents at $3.99-1/2 a bushel, peaking at its highest since April 21.

CBOT July wheat dropped 1-3/4 cents to $4.80 a bushel.

Warm and wet spring weather in leading Black Sea grain producers Russia and Ukraine has paved the way for a large wheat harvest.

The U.S. dollar hit a more than three-week high against the euro and a nearly three-week peak against the yen, tracking a rise in U.S. Treasury yields on expectations of a more hawkish Federal Reserve.

A stronger dollar makes commodities such as grains and soybeans priced in the U.S. unit more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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