U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans rebound from multi-month lows

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday in a short-covering and technical-buying rebound a day after a steep drop to a 2-1/2 month low.

Corn rose for a second straight day on bargain buying after hitting a four-month low at midweek, but good weather around the U.S. Midwest bolstered expectations for a large autumn harvest and capped gains.

Wheat closed mixed as early-session short covering faded and prices retreated on weak global demand for U.S. wheat and rising supplies from an advancing harvest in the Northern Hemisphere.

All three markets posted weekly declines, soybeans for the third straight week and corn and wheat for the fifth week in a row.

“Profit taking hit these markets ahead of the weekend. It’s been a very tough week, certainly for soybeans after yesterday’s slide,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with consultancy Allendale Inc.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans rose 10-1/2 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to $14.25-3/4 a bushel after failing to breach technical support at its 100-day moving average of $14.11-1/4 (all figures US$). The contract fell 2.1 per cent in the week.

CBOT July corn added three cents to $4.47 a bushel, up 0.7 per cent on the day but down 2.6 per cent in the week.

CBOT July wheat gained 3/4 cent to $5.86 per bushel after earlier hitting a four-month low of $5.83-1/2. The 5.2 per cent weekly decline was the steepest in a month.

Commodity funds bought an estimated net 4,000 corn contracts and 5,000 soybean contracts on the day and sold a net 2,000 wheat contracts, trade sources said.

Nearby soybean prices have fallen sharply over recent weeks but remained at a sizeable premium to post-harvest prices due to very tight U.S. supplies.

The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) on Monday is expected to estimate the U.S. soybean crush in May at 126.984 million bushels, according to a Reuters poll.

Analysts noted that the marketing-year-to-date crush was above a year ago and processors will need to cut back significantly this summer to meet the government’s crushing estimate.

“Those NOPA crush estimates imply some pretty tough issues for the soybean market for the next few weeks,” Nelson said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday cut its forecast for U.S. 2013-14 end-stocks to 125 million bushels, a 10-year low.

Closely followed analytical firm Informa Economics trimmed its 2014 U.S. soybean acreage forecast at midmorning and left corn plantings unchanged from its previous estimate. The lower soybean forecast underpinned new-crop futures.

Wheat prices remained anchored by rising supplies from an accelerating Northern Hemisphere harvest and abundant global supplies, despite expectations for a smaller U.S. hard red winter wheat crop.

— Karl Plume reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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