U.S. grains: Corn climbs on export demand, technical rebound

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures on Thursday climbed on better-than-expected weekly export sales data and bargain buying after the May contract hit a two-month low this week, analysts said.

Soybeans also rebounded after lows set this week, while wheat finished flat.

Chicago Board of Trade May corn settled up 2-1/2 cents at $3.66 per bushel (all figures US$). May soybeans ended up 3-1/2 cents at $10.01-1/2 a bushel and CBOT May wheat finished unchanged at $4.36 a bushel.

Corn notched its third straight advance after sliding on rising forecasts for South American production. The May contract dipped to $3.60 a bushel on Tuesday, its lowest since Jan. 12.

“The corn market is up a bit on follow-through buying from technically bouncing off that $3.60 low,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst with Futures International, adding, “The lower dollar is driving prices a bit higher.”

A softer dollar tends to make U.S. grains more attractive to those holding other currencies. The greenback dropped to a five-week low against a basket of currencies, still reeling from the previous session, when a statement from the U.S. Federal Reserve statement failed to signal a much faster pace of monetary policy tightening.

Corn futures also got a lift after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported weekly export sales of old-crop U.S. corn at 1.255 million tonnes, above a range of trade expectations and the most in seven weeks.

CBOT soybeans rose, snapping an eight-session decline that pressed the May contract this week to $9.92 a bushel, its lowest since mid-November.

However, the soy rally was capped by expectations for a record-large Brazilian harvest and an expansion in U.S. soybean plantings this spring.

“For soybeans, the market’s focus is on U.S. planting intentions,” said Rajesh Singla, head of agriculture research at Societe Generale.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat ended unchanged, trailing gains in K.C. hard red winter wheat and Minneapolis hard red spring wheat futures, which drew support from export demand.

Through its daily reporting system, USDA said private exporters sold 120,000 tonnes of U.S. hard red winter wheat to Algeria for 2016-17 delivery.

Dealers said U.S. wheat was becoming more competitive, although top wheat buyer Egypt opted for supplies from Russia, Ukraine and France in a tender on Wednesday.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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