U.S. grains: Soy jumps most in two weeks on tightening supplies

Corn gains second consecutive month, wheat down fourth month in row

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybeans surged into the close of trading on Friday, finishing just below their session high and climbing for the second straight day on good demand for U.S. supplies in the early days of a bumper harvest in South America, analysts said.

Corn and wheat futures also rose, with all three commodities rebounding from losses both early in the trading session and earlier this week.

Global grain and oilseed supplies are robust but logistics woes in the Black Sea region and South America helped boost export demand for U.S. commodities, lifting prices.

“Our demand is still good, and the market is not ready to break,” said Tom Fritz, a partner with EFG Group. “Everybody keeps looking for cancellations (of U.S. soybean sales), and we are not getting them — so it says beans are still tight.”

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures for March delivery finished 7-3/4 cents higher at $12.82-3/4 per bushel, just below their session high of $12.84-1/2 and rebounding from a recent 2-1/2-month low (all figures US$). The two straight days of gains capped losses but soy futures declined two per cent in January for the second consecutive monthly drop.

Friday’s bull-spreading rally in soybeans saw March futures’ premium to May futures hit 14-1/2 cents, indicating immediate demand for the beans.

Brazil and Argentina are forecast to produce record soybean harvests this year but supplies typically are slow to move out of South American ports. Farmers in Argentina are also hoarding millions of tonnes of last year’s soybean harvest as the peso loses value against other global currencies.

Meanwhile, Russia has halted grains exports from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk due to windy weather while Ukraine’s national railway has imposed temporary restrictions on cargo deliveries to the Black Sea port of Odessa due to snow drifts, officials said on Friday.

CBOT March wheat settled 2-1/4 cents higher at $5.55-3/4 per bushel but declined for the fourth straight month. Futures gained in the two sessions since notching a 3-1/2-year low on Wednesday.

CBOT March corn gained one cent at $4.34 per bushel after spending much of the session in negative territory. Corn gained for the second straight month — the first such streak since mid-2012.

Corn is likely to remain in a narrow trading range, with exporters buying at the low end and U.S. farmers selling at the high end, said CHS Hedging analyst Joe Hofmeyer.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Thursday said corn exports last week were 1.8 million tonnes, the most so far in the 2013-14 marketing season. The export data sent corn futures up more than one per cent Thursday, prompting farmer sales.

“Guys were definitely able to move some corn but the farmer is so undersold,” Hofmeyer said, adding that many farmers have sold less than half of last year’s record harvest, as much as 20 per cent less than normal.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on agriculture and ag commodity futures for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney, Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago.

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