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U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans rally, pull wheat higher

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose 1.5 per cent on Monday, snapping a four-session fall, as healthy overseas demand and rallies in Asian oilseed markets countered pressure from large global supplies, traders said.

The gains in soybeans spilled over into corn and wheat markets, which also benefited from short covering by investment funds. Corn futures notched their biggest daily gain since Oct. 13 and hit a 4-1/2-month high, with strength in the cash market adding support amid slow country selling of the grain.

The soybean rally was the biggest in two weeks, with a fresh sale to China and better-than-expected weekly export inspections pushing prices above overnight highs.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybean futures settled up 16 cents at $10.43-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$).

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday morning said private exporters reported the sale of 426,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery during the 2016-17 marketing year.

“That was a very supportive number,” said Brian Hoops, senior market analyst at Midwest Market Solutions, a brokerage and commodity marketing advisory service. “The trade had been looking for some export business. We were definitely due for that.”

Additionally, weekly soybean export inspections totaled 1.911 million tonnes, topping trade forecasts that ranged from 1.5 million to 1.9 million.

Export inspections of corn came in at 1.15 million tonnes, also higher than the top end of market expectations. Export inspections of wheat were 453,633 tonnes, in line with analysts’ estimates.

CBOT March corn futures were up 12 cents at $3.59-1/4 a bushel, rallying through technical resistance at their 30-, 40-, 50- and 100-day moving averages.

“We hit some pretty key support and we have rallied off of that,” said Chris Robinson, senior trader and analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing. “You are seeing a bit of a short-covering rally.”

But the gains in wheat were limited by ample global stocks.

CBOT March wheat ended 4 cents higher at $4.08-1/4.

Australia raised its forecast for wheat production during the 2016-17 season by more than 16 percent as near ideal conditions across much of the world’s No. 4 exporter push output to record levels.

The wheat harvest in the 2016-17 season will total 32.64 million tonnes, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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