U.S. grains: Soybeans, corn rise as harvest slows

(Photo courtesy United Soybean Board)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose 1.1 per cent on Thursday to their highest level in nearly a week, supported by reports of some disappointing yields in key Midwest production areas and technical buying, traders said.

Concerns about rains slowing down the U.S. harvest, which was already behind the typical pace, added strength to soybeans. The weather outlook also underpinned corn, but gains were kept in check by weakness in the wheat market.

“You have got some rain so we are probably going to be limited on harvest pressure in the short term,” said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co.

Wheat futures were trading in negative territory after failing to break through technical resistance early in the session.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures settled up 10 cents at $9.68-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). Soybeans hit their highest level since Sept. 29 during the session.

Soybeans also felt some spillover strength from a 2.1-per cent rally in the soymeal market. The slowdowns in harvest were leading to tight supplies available for crushers in southern areas of the U.S. Midwest, traders said.

“The U.S. soybean harvest is being delayed as rains seem to be an issue,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

Soybeans firmed in overnight trading, and gains accelerated during the daytime session after the November contract broke through its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. The contract settled above those key technical points.

CBOT December corn ended up 1-1/4 cents at $3.49-1/2 a bushel.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said weekly export sales of corn totaled 814,100 tonnes, topping market forecasts that ranged from 500,000 to 700,000 tonnes. Export sales of soybeans and wheat were in line with trade estimates.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat was down 1-1/4 cents at $4.40-3/4 a bushel, hitting its lowest level since Sept. 19.

Wheat prices remained capped by export competition created by a record Russian harvest this year. Analysts said that U.S. offerings were still too expensive for overseas buyers despite the recent futures weakness.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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