U.S. grains: Corn snaps winning streak but wheat, soy firm


Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. corn futures fell on Thursday, breaking a three-day streak of gains, as a pick-up in country movement of the yellow grain pulled prices from one-month highs hit early in the session, traders said.

Wheat and soybean futures closed firm, bouncing back from declines on Wednesday on a round of bargain buying.

The lower close in corn was its first since Jan. 11. Corn closed unchanged on Jan. 14.

“Corn rallied early in the session, reacting to a macro rebound, but ran straight into some farmer selling on the rally that backed us off late in the day,” said Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn futures closed down 1-3/4 cents at $3.67 a bushel (all figures US$). Prices peaked at $3.71-1/2 a bushel, their highest since Dec. 22.

Declines were kept in check by traders that were unwinding bearish bets they placed following a huge U.S. harvest last fall. Additionally, some concerns about tighter-than-expected global supplies lent support.

The International Grains Council on Thursday cut its forecast for world corn (maize) production in 2015-16 by eight million tonnes to 959 million, mainly due to poorer harvests in India and drought-hit South Africa.

CBOT March soybeans closed 4-1/2 cents higher at $8.78-1/2 a bushel.

Dealers said the soybean market was underpinned by demand ahead of next month’s Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, celebrations.

“For soybeans, China’s crush margins have improved which is boosting demand as people buy for the spring festival. Chinese customers are buying U.S. soybeans,” said Kaname Gokon from brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo.

Wheat prices also closed higher despite U.S. offerings on the export market again being snubbed by top buyer Egypt. The country’s state grain buyer on Thursday said it bought 235,000 tonnes of wheat from Romania, France and Russia in its latest deal.

South Korea’s Samyang Corp. did buy 23,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the U.S. in a tender which closed on Thursday, traders said.

CBOT March wheat ended up 3-1/2 cents higher at $4.75 a bushel.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Nigel Hunt in London.

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