U.S. grains: Weather worries support wheat; export data boost corn, soy

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grains rallied on Monday, with wheat supported by concerns about the weather in key growing areas, while soybeans and corn rallied on strong export data, traders said.

Wheat led the gains, rising 3.1 per cent, on forecasts for continued dryness in the southern U.S. Plains wheat belt for the next 10 days.

The dry weather will further stress the crop as it emerges from dormancy and farmers begin to assess how much damage was done to wheat by low winter temperatures.

“Hard red winter wheat country is not expected to receive significant rain over the near term and crop conditions, which will be reported after the close today, are expected to deteriorate further,” said Sterling Smith, futures specialist for Citigroup.

The benchmark Chicago Board of Trade May soft red winter wheat contract settled up 21-1/4 cents at $7.14-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). KC hard red winter wheat futures for May delivery were 23-1/4 cents higher at $7.94-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT May corn was 11 cents higher at $4.90 a bushel and CBOT May soybeans were up 16-3/4 cents at $14.25-1/2 a bushel.

Technical buyers lent support to soybean prices after an early dip pushed the May contract below its 20-day moving average.

“May futures rebounded after holding support at the trendline off January and March lows, triggering short covering and bargain hunting,” Bryce Knorr, analyst at Farm Futures, said in a note to clients.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday that weekly export inspections of soybeans were 732,132 tonnes, compared with forecasts for 770,000 to 925,000 tonnes. Corn export inspections came in at 1.143 million tonnes, topping forecasts for 850,000 to one million tonnes.

The weekly data showed that soybean export shipments put the U.S. exporters on pace to top USDA’s annual target by 270 million bushels, according to Arlan Suderman of Water Street Solutions. Corn exports were 12 million bushels ahead of the government’s expected pace.

“Our export shipments were pretty solid,” said Mark Schultz, an analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. “We always keep talking there is going to be cancellations. But the fact of the matter is that each week goes by and it does not happen.”

The soybean market has been weighing tight U.S. supply and strong demand against the prospect of South American harvests flooding the market and China easing up on imports.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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