U.S. grains: Corn, soybeans, wheat rally for second day in a row

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soybean and corn futures firmed on Tuesday, their second straight day of gains, on expectations the pace of planting will slow in coming days due to wetter weather.

“Tractors could stall quickly as more rains move into the Midwest this week,” Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.

Wheat futures also rose for the second day in a row as traders covered short positions despite a bearish fundamental picture amid signs of good crop development and weak export prospects.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures settled up 5-1/4 cents at $3.82-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT May soybeans were 18 cents higher at $10.17-3/4 a bushel.

“A wetter bias is forecast for much of the Midwest later this week to cause interruptions to fieldwork,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Soybeans gained more ground as funds continued to buy agricultural commodities on worries over South American supply.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday afternoon that 30 per cent of the U.S. corn crop has been planted, in line with expectations but much higher than the five-year average of 16 per cent. Soybeans were three per cent planted, also ahead of the five-year average.

The accelerated planting pace “is coming to a screeching halt with possible and probably delays,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions, a brokerage and commodity marketing advisory service.

U.S. winter wheat was rated 59 per cent good-to-excellent, up from 57 per cent one week earlier, USDA said. Analysts had expected wheat to be 58 per cent good-to-excellent.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures ended up 8-1/2 cents at $4.79-3/4 a bushel.

Corn, soybeans and wheat all settled near their session highs but were still well below multi-month peaks reached last week. Many investment funds viewed the retreat from the recent highs as a good technical buying opportunity, Hoops said.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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