Chicago | Reuters — Front-month U.S. soybean futures rose more than one per cent on Monday, hitting a three-week high on export demand and renewed strength in global vegetable oil markets, analysts said.
Wheat futures firmed on fund short covering while corn closed nearly unchanged.
At the Chicago Board of Trade, benchmark November soybean futures settled up 15-3/4 cents at $9.78-1/4 per bushel after reaching $9.79, the contract’s highest level since Sept. 22 (all figures US$).
December wheat finished up 2-3/4 cents at $4.23-3/4 a bushel and December corn ended down 1/4 cent at $3.54 a bushel.
Soybeans drew support as the December Malaysian palm oil contract surged more than four per cent, partly on forecasts of weaker production growth for the month of October.
“Palm oil is leading the charge and beans follow that,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The soy market got another boost when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported export inspections of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at 2.5 million tonnes, above a range of trade estimates for 1.3 million to 1.6 million tonnes.
The National Oilseed Processors Association said its members crushed 129.405 million bushels of soybeans in September, above an average of trade estimates for 127.7 million.
NOPA reported U.S. soyoil stocks at the end of September at 1.376 billion lbs., down from 1.62 billion a month earlier and tighter than the average trade estimate of 1.500 billion.
Corn futures retreated from early advances after the spot December contract failed to match Friday’s 2-1/2-month high of $3.58-3/4.
Farmer selling played a role as the U.S. harvest continued. Farmers have been reluctant sellers of corn this autumn, opting to store much of the crop and hold out for higher prices. But some growers have been taking advantage of a roughly 30-cent rally in the December futures contract since Sept. 30, Roose said.
After the CBOT close, the USDA said the U.S. corn harvest was 46 per cent complete, behind the five-year average of 49 per cent. The soybean harvest was 62 per cent complete, near the five-year average of 63 per cent.
Wheat futures firmed for a third straight session on technical buying, including fund-driven short covering and a pickup in global wheat export business.
The latest deal was Monday’s 610,000-tonne hard wheat purchase by Saudi Arabia.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.