U.S. grains: U.S. corn sets five-month high on rising export demand

U.S. corn futures on Monday touched a fresh five-month high on firm export demand, while wheat slumped on profit-taking and slow sales to foreign buyers.

Soybeans also advanced on strong export sales in light trading volume ahead of the Christmas holiday, traders said.

Corn futures finished near unchanged after the nearby contract rose to its highest level since July. Traditional buyers, including Mexico, Japan and South Korea, have increased purchases of U.S. corn in recent days, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 166,600 tonnes of U.S. corn were sold to unknown destinations on Monday.

China, the world’s fastest-growing corn market, officially approved imports of U.S.-grown genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn, seed maker Syngenta AG said, ending uncertainty after a five-year review.

Approval of the strain, known as MIR 162, “is encouraging but will likely not change China’s demand for corn,” said Kayla Burkhart, broker for CHS SunPrairie.

“It just makes things less of a headache from an export perspective for us,” she said.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn ended up 1-1/4 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $4.11-3/4 a bushel, while January soybeans gained 7-3/4 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $10.38-1/4 a bushel. March wheat fell 6-1/2 cents, or 1 percent, to $6.25-3/4 a bushel after a dropping 3.5 per cent on Friday.

Traders continued to take profits in the wheat market after worries that Russia could curb wheat exports last week sent futures to their highest levels since May. Russia stiffened its bid to curb grain exports on Monday with plans for an imminent duty on shipments to defend domestic bread supplies against a crumbling rouble.

“The recent spike in U.S. futures only makes our wheat less competitive in the global marketplace so demand for U.S. wheat is extremely quiet,” Burkhart said.

Soybeans rose on support from a firm soymeal market and strong export demand for U.S. supplies, traders said.

The USDA said export inspections of soybeans were a bigger-than-expected 2.23 million tonnes in the latest week, up from 1.88 million a week earlier.

Prices at 3:09 p.m. CST (2109 GMT)                       
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  411.75     1.25   0.3%   -2.7%
 CBOT soy                  1038.25     7.75   0.8%  -21.0%
 CBOT meal                  368.40     4.90   1.4%  -15.9%
 CBOT soyoil                 32.04     0.07   0.2%  -17.4%
 CBOT wheat                 625.75    -6.50  -1.0%    3.2%

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