U.S. grains: Wheat rises on bargain buying

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures firmed Wednesday, edging higher on a round of bargain buying and short-covering a day after prices hit their lowest in nearly six years, traders said.

Corn and soybean futures were close to unchanged for most of the day but closed in negative territory. A bearish tone remained firmly in place following the U.S. Agriculture Department’s forecast for wilting demand during the 2015-16 crop year.

USDA also said on Tuesday that global wheat supplies would reach record levels this year due to falling consumption in China and India.

“Wheat, corn and soybeans are still burdened by the forecasts of large global supplies made by the USDA monthly report on Tuesday,” said Frank Rijkers, agrifood economist at ABN AMRO Bank. “But markets have been moving in and out of positive territory today because of the impact of re-positioning after the USDA report and bargain-hunting following yesterday’s price falls.”

CBOT March soft red winter wheat futures settled up 3-3/4 cents at $4.61-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). The most-active contract fell to hit its lowest since June 2010 on Tuesday.

The positive close snapped a streak of four straight losing sessions for wheat.

“The action today is just a modest short covering rally,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients. “The market is still trending… down.”

CBOT March soybeans ended one cent lower at $8.62-1/4 a bushel and CBOT March corn was down 3/4 cent at $3.60-1/4 a bushel.

Weakening export demand for U.S. supplies amid forecasts for huge crops in South America added pressure to the market.

Russia will ban imports of corn and soy from the U.S. starting from Feb. 15, a spokesman for Russia’s agricultural watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The watchdog said its deputy head, Yulia Shvabauskene, had told the U.S. about concerns related to the phytosanitary safety of corn and soybean imports.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additonal reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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