U.S. grains: Rising export demand pushes wheat, soybeans higher

U.S. soybeans and wheat futures rose on Monday, with a pickup in export demand supporting both commodities, traders said.

Corn futures also closed higher, feeding off the strength of soybeans and wheat, but gains were kept in check by profit-taking following a five per cent rally on Friday.

Wheat rebounded from a four-session losing streak that pushed prices to 3-1/2 year lows following a long-awaited U.S. Agriculture Department report on Friday that said domestic and global supplies were bigger than expected.

The pullback in prices last week sparked a snap tender from Egypt, the world’s top buyer of the grain. Egypt made its first purchase of U.S. wheat of the 2013-14 marketing year during the weekend and provided a peg for wheat futures’ firm open.

“We’ve found a good fundamental support factor for wheat,” one European trader said.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat for March delivery settled up 4-1/2 cents at $5.73-1/2 a bushel. The benchmark wheat contract fell 6.1 per cent during its four days of declines (all figures US$).

MGEX spring wheat and KCBT hard red winter wheat, which did not post as big a decline as CBOT wheat did last week, fell on Monday.

CBOT March soybeans were 15-3/4 cents higher at $12.94-1/4 a bushel.

USDA said on Monday morning that U.S. export inspections for soybeans were 59.381 million bushels, beating forecasts for 45 million to 50 million. The agency also said that private exporters reported the sale of 140,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations.

“The main thing is we fed the bull with the export inspections jumping and outpacing last week’s number,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics. “So we are not trimming near-term demand, in shipments. The USDA report (on Friday) did not feed the bull, but today’s numbers changed that.”

CBOT March corn was up 1-3/4 cents at $4.34-1/2 a bushel. Prices had weakened early but found some technical support near their 50-day moving average of $4.30 a bushel.

USDA on Friday pegged 2013-14 U.S. corn production at 13.925 billion bushels, still a record but below its previous estimate and the consensus of analyst estimates, as it cut average yield rather than increasing it like the trade had anticipated.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain futures markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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