U.S. grains: Corn and wheat firm, soy weaker in largely technical trade

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Chicago | Reuters – U.S. corn firmed slightly on Tuesday on light technical buying and a lack of farmer hedging as farmers kept busy harvesting crops, analysts said.

However, expectations of large U.S. harvests and a lack of fresh supportive news kept a lid on gains. Wheat futures also rose, with the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade December contract rebounding from a three-week low, while soybeans edged lower.

CBOT December corn settled up 3/4 cent at $3.70-1/4 per bushel and December soft red winter wheat ended up 1 cent at $5.09, after dipping to $5.05-1/4, its lowest since Oct. 2. CBOT November soybeans finished down 1 cent at $8.57-1/2 a bushel.

Dry conditions in the U.S. Midwest enabled farmers to pick up the pace of harvesting corn and soybeans after a stretch of weather delays earlier this month.

“It looks like we are going to be wet toward the end of the month, so these guys are going as hard as they can,” said Jack Scoville, analyst with The Price Futures Group in Chicago.

“The fact there is no selling pressure now is allowing the (grain) market to get a little lift, even though the outside markets make it seem like that should not be happening,” Scoville said, noting that U.S. crude oil futures were down about 4 percent.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture late on Monday said the U.S. corn harvest was 49 percent complete, ahead of the five-year average of 47 percent but behind an average of trade expectations for 51 percent.

The USDA pegged the U.S. soybean harvest as 53 percent complete, lagging the five-year average of 69 percent but ahead of the average trade estimate of 52 percent.

Corn drew light chart support from the fact that the December contract on Monday was able to hold above its 50-day moving average near $3.64.

“The grain and oilseed markets remain resilient … as traders seek to buy the breaks on expectations that this may be a longer-term low – especially for corn and wheat,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a note to clients.

Wheat rose in bargain hunting and on hopes U.S. exports will improve as Russian supplies dwindle.

“Hope in the U.S. remains that world wheat export demand will be shifted to the United States when Black Sea supplies eventually sell out,” said Charles Clack, agricultural commodity analyst at Rabobank. “But the huge Black Sea exports, especially from Russia, currently continue and it looks like the region still has a lot to sell.”

Russia’s IKAR agriculture consultancy raised its wheat export forecast for this year to 33 million tonnes, from 32.5 million previously.

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