U.S. grains: Short-covering sparks rally in wheat

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat futures rallied 3.4 per cent on Monday, bouncing off of their lowest in nearly three weeks, on a round of short-covering, traders said.

“Frankly this market was struggling to go down,” Arlan Suderman, senior market analyst at Water Street Solutions, said. “When you run out of sellers because they do not want to go short anymore, they say, ‘Let’s see if we can bounce this thing up,’ and they take some profits on their shorts.”

The strength in wheat pulled corn futures higher but soybeans were under pressure from a fast pace of planting and good conditions for growth in the U.S. Midwest, traders said.

“With corn planting more or less wrapped up, the soybean campaign is expected to advance to nearly the three-quarter pole today, with a further planting window in the coming days.” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat for July delivery settled up 16-3/4 cents at $4.93-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). K.C. July hard red winter wheat futures were 15-1/2 cents higher at $5.14-1/4 a bushel and MGEX July spring wheat was 17-1/4 cents higher at $5.48 a bushel.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday said that speculators boosted their net short in CBOT wheat by 17 per cent.

CBOT July soybeans were eight cents lower at $9.26 a bushel while CBOT July corn closed up 3/4 cent $3.52-1/4 a bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that weekly export inspections of soybeans fell to 73,190 tonnes, well below market forecasts and the lowest since September.

“Fundamentals look bearish. The weather has improved, while international demand is sluggish,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

Analysts were expecting a USDA report on Monday afternoon to show that soybean planting was 75 per cent complete, five percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Good-to-excellent ratings for corn were expected to improve one percentage point, to 75 per cent.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

 

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