U.S. grains: Soybeans firm on slowed planting progress

Wheat rangebound as Northern Hemisphere weather watched

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures firmed on Wednesday as a slowdown in plantings in the Midwest and forecasts for more disruptive weather lifted prices to two-week highs, although technical selling kept a lid on gains.

Corn also edged higher after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported slower-than-anticipated planting in a weekly crop progress update, but gains were capped by continued concerns about soft demand and ample supplies of the grain.

Winter wheat futures were mixed as traders weighed improved crop weather in parts of Europe, while spring wheat eased on accelerated plantings.

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Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July soybean futures ended 1-1/2 cents higher at $8.48-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). The contract slipped from a two-week peak of $8.51-1/4 on technical selling after hitting chart resistance at its 50-day moving average.

July corn was 1-1/2 cents higher at $3.20-1/2 a bushel, while CBOT July wheat fell 2-1/4 cents to $5.04-1/2 a bushel.

USDA on Monday said soybean planting was 65 per cent complete and corn was 88 per cent planted, both below average trade estimates.

“Planting progress is further behind than the trade thought and the weather going forward is a bit concerning. The market is concerned about whether we will get all the bean acres in,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist for Zaner Group.

After heavy precipitation across the U.S. Midwest in recent days, more rain is expected in parts of the region over the coming week, according to meteorologists. Hot, dry conditions are expected later next week.

Soybeans also drew some support from news that soybean exports at a berth in Brazil’s large Paranagua port were temporarily halted after a ship crew member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Although port operations have resumed, the incident highlighted how the pandemic could upend global supply chains, potentially shifting more soybean demand to the United States.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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