Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain futures edged higher on Thursday in a rebound from losses the previous session, with solid export sales helping to support the recovery.
Soybeans settled mixed, after the new-crop contract matched a contract low set on Wednesday on expectations of bumper U.S. harvests.
Expectations for massive U.S. crops continued to limit gains as the annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour entered its final day, with participants scouting good-looking fields in Iowa and Minnesota.
Final figures from Iowa and Minnesota are due later on Thursday, and Pro Farmer’s editors will release their estimates of total U.S. crop production on Friday.
“Rallies are expected to be kept in check by large yield expectations,” said Brian Hoops, president for brokerage Midwest Market Solutions.
Chicago Board of Trade December corn, which represents the crop that will be harvested this autumn, rose 0.4 per cent to $3.69 a bushel, having dropped 1.3 per cent in the previous session (all figures US$).
Nearby September soybeans jumped 1.5 per cent to $11.36-1/4 a bushel amid strong demand for old-crop supplies from U.S. processors. New-crop November soybeans were little changed at $10.38-1/4 a bushel after matching Wednesday’s contract low of $10.35.
Results from the Pro Farmer tour give traders confidence that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will likely increase its yield forecasts in the coming months, said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, a brokerage in Iowa.
Participants on Wednesday projected the corn yield in Illinois at a record 196.96 bushels per acre, above USDA’s last estimate of 188 bushels.
Still, U.S. export sales helped fuel a rebound in new-crop prices as demand was “still decent” for corn and stronger than expected for soybeans, Roose added.
Weekly U.S. soybean export sales last week were 1.3 million tonnes, according to the USDA, above expectations for 850,000 to 1.15 million tonnes. Corn export sales of 819,100 tonnes were within analysts’ estimates, while wheat export sales of 209,200 tonnes were below expectations.
December wheat gained one per cent to $5.55-1/2 a bushel, having closed down 1.5 per cent on Wednesday.
Commodity funds bought an estimated 3,000 contracts each of corn and wheat and were net even in soybeans.
Farmers in Canada, which competes with the U.S. for export business, are on course to produce less wheat than expected, according to Statistics Canada. [Related story]
France, the EU’s top exporter, has been forced to import wheat as rain has hurt the quality of its crop.
— Tom Polansek reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.