Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures climbed to their highest in five months on Thursday as news of a swine disease in Germany fueled expectations of increased demand for U.S. pork and feed grains, traders said.
Firm cash markets for corn ahead of the start of the U.S. Midwest harvest added support, along with optimism about export demand from China.
Wheat futures rebounded after a five-session slide, while soybeans fell on profit-taking after a 12-session advance.
Chicago Board of Trade December corn settled up 4-3/4 cents at $3.65 per bushel after reaching $3.66-3/4, its highest since March 27 (all figures US$).
CBOT December wheat ended up 4-1/2 cents at $5.48-1/4 a bushel while November soybeans settled down 1-1/4 cents at $9.77-1/2.
Corn hit session highs after lean hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange surged their daily three-cent limit on confirmation of a case of African swine fever in a wild boar in Germany, the European Union’s top pork producer. The news spurred optimism that global buyers would turn to the United States for pork supplies.
South Korea said it was halting imports of German pork following the discovery, and German pork exports to China and Japan are likely to come to a halt, German meat industry association VDF said.
“People are thinking that is going to be supportive for (soybean) meal and especially corn,” said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago, citing two key feedstuffs for hogs.
Tight supplies of old-crop corn supported cash values.
“The nearby cash (market) is very firm. It’s hard to originate corn until you get to harvest,” said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis.
Traders were also positioning ahead of key monthly supply/demand reports due Friday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Analysts on average expect the government to lower its estimates of U.S. 2020-21 corn and soybean production.
Soybean futures fell for the first time in 13 sessions as traders locked in profits after the oilseed climbed to its highest in more than two years following strong demand from China.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Maytaal Angel in London.