U.S. grains: Soybeans rise, corn hits one-month high on harvest delays

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. corn futures set a one-month high Tuesday and soybeans hit a three-week top on commercial demand amid harvest delays and slow farmer selling, coupled with chart-based buying, traders said.

Corn peaked near the closing bell and posted the day’s biggest gains on a percentage basis, but soybeans had the highest volume, near 400,000 contracts. Wheat followed, closing in positive territory after early declines.

At the Chicago Board of Trade, December corn settled up 11 cents or 3.2 per cent at $3.57 per bushel, with technical buying accelerating as the contract broke through its 50-day moving average near $3.50 (all figures US$).

Commodity funds were big buyers, snapping up a net 10,000 contracts in corn and 8,000 in soybeans, traders estimated.

“We had computers chasing (buy) stops, and they did so effectively. Harvest delays amid strong demand gave them the cover to do that,” said Arlan Suderman, market analyst with Water Street Solutions.

CBOT November soybeans settled up 19-1/2 cents, or 2.1 per cent, at $9.64-3/4 per bushel after a volatile session. The contract ripped to a three-week high of $9.70-1/2 before reversing and briefly trading lower, and then firming again into the close.

“The pipeline is still needing a little coverage. That just gave the market a jolt,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co. in Chicago.

Rains over the past week have slowed fieldwork in the U.S. Corn Belt, where producers are trying to bring in the largest corn and soy crops on record. Export demand for soybeans and soymeal has been especially strong.

After the CBOT close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the U.S. soybean harvest was 40 per cent complete as of Sunday, above trade expectations but lagging the five-year average of 53 percent. USDA put the corn harvest at 24 per cent complete, in line with expectations and behind the five-year average of 43 per cent.

“We will get a good window here through rest of month after this (storm) system clears out. But we have certainly slowed our pace,” said Terry Linn of the Linn Group, a Chicago brokerage.

Worries about hot and dry conditions in Brazil, the world’s top soybean exporter, lent support to soybeans.

“There is nobody panicking because it’s dry in October in Brazil. But if we get to the first week of November and this ridge does not break down, you have a completely different story,” one Chicago-based analyst said.

CBOT December wheat settled up four cents at $5.09-1/4 per bushel after reaching $5.10, its highest point since Oct. 8. The market overcame early declines as corn advanced.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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