U.S. grains: Soybean futures advance on supply concerns

Traders watch U.S. planting progress, crop weather

CBOT May 2021 soybeans with Bollinger (20,2) bands. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures jumped on Monday on concerns about U.S. supplies dwindling due to strong export demand and smaller-than-expected plantings.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture shocked traders last week by reporting that U.S. farmers plan to sow 87.6 million acres with soybeans this spring and 91.1 million acres with corn. Both estimates were well below analysts’ expectations for 89.996 million soybean acres and 93.2 million corn acres.

“The focus for the market will be on enticing U.S. farmers to plant more acres of soybeans and on the need to produce near record yields,” said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage.

Most-active soybean futures settled up 10-3/4 cents at $14.12-3/4 per bushel, while wheat rose seven cents to $6.18 per bushel (all figures US$).

Most-active corn futures slumped 6-1/2 cents to $5.53-1/4 a bushel, after hitting its highest price since June 2013 at $5.85 a bushel on Thursday. Traders sold old-crop contracts and bought new-crop contracts in spread trades.

USDA’s planting estimates revived concerns about tightening global supplies after importers led by China, along with domestic processors, loaded up on grain and soybeans this season.

It appears USDA’s estimate for U.S. soybean exports is possibly 50 million bushels to 100 million bushels too low, Pfitzenmaier said.

The agency is due to update its agricultural supply and demand estimates in a monthly report on Friday.

In another report due at 4 p.m. CT on Monday, analysts surveyed by Reuters expect USDA to show U.S. corn planting is three per cent complete. Technical problems delayed the release of the data.

There are reports that some farmers are shifting more acres to corn, particularly in places where planting has started and field conditions are favorable, said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst for AgriVisor.

“At this point it does not seem like a huge number of acres will shift,” he said.

— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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