U.S. grains: Corn reaches new five-month high, wheat advances

Chicago / Reuters – U.S. corn futures on Tuesday jumped to a new five-month high for the second consecutive session on increasing global demand and wheat advanced amid uncertainty about the impact of Russian export restrictions.

Soybean futures also were firmer in thin volume before the Christmas holiday on Thursday.

Nearby March corn futures hit a session high of $4.14-3/4 a bushel, the highest price for a front-month contract since July 3. Traditional buyers, including Japan and South Korea, have been increasing purchases of U.S. corn and domestic demand has also been firm, traders said.

“Is demand crazy wild on corn? No, but it’s improving,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, a brokerage in Iowa.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn was up 0.7 per cent at $4.14-3/4 a bushel by 10:40 a.m. CST (1640 GMT) from Monday’s five-month high of $4.14-1/4. March wheat rose 1.3 per cent to $6.34 a bushel, and January soybeans gained 0.6 per cent to $10.44-3/4 a bushel.

Wheat traders were watching Russia, expected to be the world’s fourth-largest exporter this year, after the government on Monday stiffened its bid to curb grain exports with plans for an imminent duty on shipments.

The timeline for restrictions and impact on the global market were unclear, however, traders said. They said that concerns about tightening supplies were helping to lift prices.

“It’s still that uncertainty that’s driving the market,” Roose said.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a meeting on Monday that a proposal for an export duty would be finalised within 24 hours, although no official announcement was seen on Tuesday.

“I actually thought the wheat would be a little lower today with no announcement out of Russia,” said Rich Nelson, chief market strategist at Illinois brokerage Allendale.

Overseas demand helped lift soybean futures after the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday said export inspections were a bigger-than-expected 2.23 million tonnes in the latest week, up from 1.88 million a week earlier, traders said.

Prices at 2:13 p.m. CST (2013 GMT)                              
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  414.00     2.25   0.6%   -2.1%
 CBOT soy                  1038.50     0.25   0.0%  -21.1%
 CBOT meal                  371.30     2.90   0.8%  -15.2%
 CBOT soyoil                 32.22     0.18   0.6%  -17.2%
 CBOT wheat                 635.50     9.75   1.6%    5.0%

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