U.S. grains: Harvest delays spark soybean rally

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose 1.7 per cent on Tuesday, hitting a nearly one-month high on strong export demand and as rains delayed harvest in key production areas of the U.S. Midwest, traders said.

The delays also supported corn futures, while wheat rose on technical buying and short-covering. Both corn and wheat were on track for their third straight day of gains.

Soybeans rose for the fourth session in a row, led by demand from commercial operators as cash market supplies were tight.

“Both crushers and exporters need to get their hands on physical bushels to offset long paper and meet contracts,” Brugler Marketing and Management LLC said in a note to client.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday that exporters had sold another 110,000 tonnes of soybeans to China for delivery during the 2016-17 marketing year.

CBOT November soybean futures settled up 17-1/4 cents at $9.89-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). The most-active contract hit its highest since Aug. 25.

Expected rains in the western half of the U.S. Midwest next week will cause further harvest delays as farmers wait for fields to dry out, forecaster Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

CBOT December corn was 3-1/4 cents higher at $3.40-1/2 a bushel.

“Corn was up all day long on chart buying and sympathy with the soybeans, with more chatter about wet weather for next week,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.

USDA said after the market close on Monday that nine per cent of U.S. corn had been harvested as of Sunday, down from the five-year average of 12 per cent for this time of the year and analysts’ estimate of 11 per cent.

The agency said four per cent of U.S. soybeans had been harvested, down slightly from five per cent on average.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat rose two cents, to $4.06 a bushel.

Large global supplies continued to weigh on grain markets, limiting gains in both corn and wheat.

A hold-up in purchases by Egypt’s government buyer was also weighing on wheat markets. Egypt, the world’s biggest importer, remained in a standoff with suppliers over a strict ban on traces of ergot fungus.

Egypt failed to attract a single offer at its state grain tender on Monday, forcing it to cancel its third consecutive wheat purchase tender.

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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