Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat futures set a two-week high on Thursday, rebounding from last week’s four-year lows on larger-than-expected weekly export sales data, traders said.
Soybeans and corn firmed after setting multi-year lows this week. But gains were limited by the ongoing harvest of massive U.S. crops.
At the Chicago Board of Trade, December wheat settled up 3-3/4 cents at $4.82-3/4 per bushel after reaching $4.89-3/4, a two-week high (all figures US$). Chart-based buying accelerated as the contract broke through resistance near $4.85, but the market pared gains late in the session.
“The wheat market is finding a bit of support from overseas wheat prices rallying several dollars a ton over the last few days,” said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago. “That may be a result of Russia really deciding to try to keep the wheat in country, to feed poultry and livestock.”
Traders say a run-up in Russian wheat prices, linked to a rising domestic market, has curbed overseas sales despite a near-record crop in one of the world’s top exporters.
CBOT wheat got a boost when the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales of U.S. wheat in the latest week at 741,038 tonnes, a two-month high that topped trade expectations.
As well, the U.S. dollar retreated from a four-year high against a basket of currencies, buoying dollar-denominated grains.
CBOT November soybeans finished up 7-3/4 cents at $9.24-1/2 per bushel and December corn ended up 1-1/2 cents at $3.22-3/4 a bushel.
Soybeans drew support from tight supplies of soymeal, despite a steep dive in cash values over the last week as the harvest got under way.
“The attitude is that crush is not ramping up fast enough,” said Tom Fritz, a partner with EFG Group in Chicago.
A slowdown in the U.S. harvest due to rains crossing the Midwest this week supported soybeans and corn. Storms on Wednesday dropped 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of rain across parts of Missouri and western Illinois, the Commodity Weather Group said.
Nonetheless, strong expectations for record-high corn and soybean production kept prices anchored near multi-year lows.
Brokerage INTL FCStone on Wednesday raised its forecast for the corn yield to 178.4 bushels per acre from 174.1 last month, and raised its production estimate to 14.958 billion bushels.
The firm raised its forecast of the U.S. soybean yield to 48.4 bushels per acre, from 47.6 last month, and raised its production estimate to 4.066 billion bushels.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.