U.S. grains: Soybeans hit one-week high, wheat mixed

U.S. soybean futures rose on Thursday, hitting a one-week high on strength in the cash markets, signs of strong export demand and spillover support from a rally in soymeal prices, traders said.

Corn and wheat futures were soft and mixed, respectively, with traders squaring positions ahead of long-awaited U.S. Agriculture Department production and supply and demand reports.

Slow country movement of soybeans as the harvest wound down helped prices rebound from a 21-month low hit on Tuesday.

“With the farmer off of two or three years of record income, he is in a position where he is able to store a lot of crop,” said Greg Grow, director of agribusiness at brokerage Archer Financial Services. “As we approach the end of harvest and the farmer is not content with the price, there is a little bit of a need to bid up the cash market to find levels where farmers are willing sellers.”

Analysts expect the government to raise its estimate for the 2013 U.S. corn harvest to a new record and to show a tripling of U.S. ending stocks in Friday’s crop report, the first in two months due to the partial government shutdown in October.

CBOT soybeans for January delivery settled 11-1/2 cents higher at $12.66-1/2 a bushel. The front-month November contract, which expires next week, was up 15-3/4 cents at $12.78-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

Traders said front-month soybeans, which posted their biggest gain in percentage terms in three weeks, were receiving extra support from heavy commercial stopping of deliveries.

CBOT December corn ended down 3/4 cent at $4.20-1/2 a bushel. Corn futures hit their lowest since Aug. 26, 2010 during overnight trading.

“The American farmer has literally watched all their margins for December 2013, 2014 and 2015 corn vanish,” said Tom Grisafi, president of agricultural advisory service Trade the Farm LLC. “It was over the last month.”

USDA said on Thursday morning that export sales of corn were 1.72 million tonnes in the latest reporting week, topping forecasts for 1 million to 1.3 million tonnes. Soybean export sales of 1.04 million were near the high end of expectations for 800,000 to 1.1 million tonnes.

CBOT soft red winter wheat for December delivery was 1/4 cent lower at $6.53 a bushel while KCBT December hard red winter wheat dropped 4 cents to $7.12-1/2 a bushel and MGEX December spring wheat was down 2-3/4 cents at $7.09-1/2 a bushel.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain futures markets in Chicago.

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