U.S. grains: Soy climbs on China trade optimism

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rebounded on Wednesday, posting gains for the fifth session in six on hopes that China will accelerate its purchases of U.S. agricultural products following three days of trade talks with the United States this week.

Corn also firmed as traders anticipated the grain would be among the goods next on Beijing’s shopping list following recent goodwill purchases of U.S. soybeans over the past month.

Wheat rose for a fifth straight session as rising prices in rival exporting countries such as Russia stoked expectations of a pickup in demand for U.S. shipments.

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Spillover support from sharply higher crude oil prices and a weaker greenback, which makes dollar-denominated goods more attractive to buyers holding other currencies, offered further support to grains.

The market focused on positive comments from U.S. officials after three days of talks in Beijing.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Wednesday that China had pledged to purchase “a substantial amount” of agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services from the United States.

“There were some good comments from the trade talks… There’s a continued underlying sense of support in the market as long as trade tensions are not blowing up,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

China earlier this week approved five genetically-modified crops for import, the first in about 18 months, and booked another wave of U.S. soybean deals after effectively freezing purchases last summer.

Adverse weather in top soybean exporter Brazil provided further support to prices.

Consultancy AgRural slashed its Brazilian soy crop estimate on Wednesday to 116.9 million tonnes, from 121.4 million previously, citing poor weather in southern Brazil.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) March soybeans rose 5-1/2 cents to $9.24 a bushel, while March corn gained two cents, to $3.82 a bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT March wheat rose 2-1/4 cents to $5.20 a bushel after nearing a three-week peak of $5.24-1/2 notched a day earlier.

Wheat support stemmed from accelerated demand in the global marketplace, with rising Russian prices offering U.S. exporters an opportunity to capture sales.

But disappointment over Egypt’s purchase of only Russian wheat in a snap tender pared futures gains near the close. U.S. wheat was offered at competitive prices in the tender, but the high cost of freight from the U.S. proved prohibitive.

Other recent global wheat business included purchases by Algeria, Taiwan and Tunisia.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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