U.S. grains: Exports support gains in corn, soybeans

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose on Tuesday with another round of export deals with China and concerns about dry weather in Argentina pushing prices higher, traders said.

Short covering lent support to corn, which also benefited from overseas interest in U.S. supplies, but wheat closed lower, pressured by a strong U.S. dollar and ample supplies.

Soybeans, which closed off session highs after failing to break through a recent 4-1/2-month peak, received additional support from a rally in the palm oil.

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Malaysian palm oil futures hit their highest level in 4-1/2 years on Tuesday, reversing losses earlier in the day, after data indicated that output fell at the start of the month.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybean futures settled up 4-1/4 cents at $10.47-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

“There is really a bunch of small things fundamentally supporting soybeans,” said Karl Setzer, analyst at MaxYield Cooperative. “We continue to see that (export) demand. Argentine weather is giving us a bit of a bump as it has turned hot and dry down there.”

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday morning said that private exporters reported the sale of 198,000 tonnes of soybeans to China for delivery during the 2016-17 marketing year and 378,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations, split between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

USDA also said that exporters sold 276,000 tonnes of corn to South Korea for 2016-17 shipment. The deal helped buoy the corn market after a choppy overnight session.

CBOT March corn ended up 1-1/4 cents at $3.60-1/2 a bushel, its third straight day of gains.

CBOT March wheat closed down 1-1/2 cents at $4.06-3/4 a bushel.

Expectations for bumper crops around the world continued to hamper the wheat market.

Canada’s wheat crop withstood unfavourable autumn weather, topping Statistics Canada’s previous estimates and last year’s production. StatsCan on Tuesday pegged the all-wheat crop at 31.7 million tonnes, up 15 per cent from last year and exceeding the average trade expectation of 30.7 million tonnes.

That follows a record production outlook from Australia on Monday.

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

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