U.S. soybeans rise on tight supplies, firm cash markets

U.S. soybean futures rose for a second straight session on Tuesday, supported by firm cash prices amid persistent demand from domestic processors for razor-thin supplies remaining from last year’s drought-hit harvest.

Corn prices were mostly lower, with new-crop values down for a fourth consecutive session, as favourable weather across much of the Midwest was expected to bolster the recently planted crop.

Wheat shed earlier gains to close lower for a fourth straight session amid continued reports of larger-than-anticipated yields from the advancing winter crop harvest.

Cash soybean basis values around the U.S. climbed as supplies of the oilseed, projected to shrink to the tightest in nine years by late summer, were proving difficult to acquire.

“Soybeans are up again today. Processors continue to bid up for increasingly tighter supplies,” said Art Liming, futures specialist with Citigroup.

Spot soybean basis bids in the benchmark Decatur, Illinois market jumped by US10 cents a bushel on Tuesday to the highest level since August 2009.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans rose 13-1/4 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $15.25-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$). New-crop November soybeans gained five cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $12.78-1/2 a bushel, underpinned by some concerns about planting delays, mostly in the western Midwest.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said Monday that 92 per cent of the U.S. crop was planted as of June 23, the lowest for this time of year since 2009.

Corn seeding was already complete and the crop was developing under favourable conditions, with heat and rain speeding plant growth following a slow start to planting.

The nearly ideal growing weather was expected to persist in the U.S. Midwest for at least the next two weeks, an agricultural meteorologist said Tuesday.

“All in all it’s a good pattern, no stress for crops,” said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.

CBOT July corn futures, the only higher contract, rose 3-1/2 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $6.56-3/4 a bushel, but new-crop December fell two cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $5.44-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT July wheat eased 3-1/4 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $6.75-3/4 a bushel, the lowest in a week. The contract has fallen 4.4 per cent in a four-day slide.

Commodity funds sold an estimated net 4,000 corn contracts and 1,000 wheat contracts and bought a net 3,000 soybean contracts in a light volume trading session, trade sources said.

Grain markets are building up toward acreage and stocks reports to be issued by USDA on Friday.

Investors will be squaring positions ahead of the report, which falls on the last trading day of the week, month and quarter, as well as the first notice day for July futures contracts.

— Karl Plume reports for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sam Nelson in Chicago.

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