U.S. grains: Corn futures firm on technical buying

CBOT March 2020 corn with 10-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures firmed on Monday, edging up to their highest in nearly a month on a round of technical buying despite signs of poor demand, traders said.

Soybean futures fell, with traders waiting for concrete signs of progress in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China before buying into a beaten-down market. Forecasts for a massive harvest in Brazil in coming months added pressured to the soybean market.

“The grain trade begins a brand new month by once again trying to dig the continually-battered soybean market out of a six-week, 85-cent free-fall, but buyers will be hard to come by with bears still feeding off a U.S.-China stalemate,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients (all figures US$).

The wheat market also fell, closing near session lows as a round of profit-taking pressured prices after the most active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract hit a six-month high on Friday.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn futures settled up 3/4 cent at $3.82 a bushel, after finding technical support from overnight weakness at their 10-day moving average.

The most-active CBOT corn futures contract peaked at $3.84-3/4 a bushel, its highest on a continuous basis since Nov. 6.

Corn futures received additional support from a blizzard in the northwest U.S. Midwest that threatened to force some farmers in that key production region to leave their crops standing until the spring.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat ended 6-1/2 cents lower at $5.35-1/4 a bushel and CBOT January soybeans were 6-1/4 cents lower at $8.70-1/2 a bushel.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said U.S. legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong did not make trade negotiations with China easier but added he believes Beijing still wants a deal with the United States.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday morning said corn export inspections fell to 428,856 tonnes in the week ended Nov. 28, from 615,968 tonnes a week earlier, below market forecasts. Wheat export inspections of 246,968 tonnes also were below expectations.

Soybean export inspections dropped to 1.545 million tonnes from 1.952 million tonnes, near the low end of trade estimates.

Brazil’s 2019-20 soybean harvest could come in at a record 122.7 million tonnes, according to the average forecast in a Reuters survey of 16 market analysts.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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