U.S. grains: Soy rallies off multi-year low ahead of U.S. holiday

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Reuters — Soybean futures climbed more than one per cent on Wednesday, bouncing on short-covering after this week’s 6-1/2 year low, ahead of a U.S. holiday.

Corn also rose as investors covered short positions and as farmers maintained a slow selling pace to the cash market. Nearby Chicago wheat futures extended losses from the previous session on technical selling, dipping to a 2-1/2 month low.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans rose 11-1/2 cents to $8.75-1/4 a bushel, touching a two-week high after registering on Monday their lowest nearby price since March 2009 (all figures US$). Technical buying also lifted the market, traders said.

“We can’t go down every day,” said Jason Roose, commodity analyst at U.S. Commodities, of soybeans’ bounce.

Roose said soybeans’ gains also reflected a seasonal rally as buyers pry newly harvested supplies from farmers, and strong Chinese demand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters sold 190,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations for 2015-16 delivery.

“It’s a good recipe for some holiday buying,” Roose said.

Soybean prices have recently come under pressure as the market anticipates Argentina’s new president will enact policies that could help boost exports, adding to volumes from bumper harvests around the world.

“If (President-elect Mauricio Macri) keeps his promises and drastically reduced its export taxes, Argentina could regain a leading role on the international market, especially as a wheat exporter,” French consultancy Agritel said.

December corn rose 0.2 per cent, or 1-3/4 cents, to $3.66 a bushel on firm cash markets.

Chicago December wheat dipped 1.1 per cent, or five cents, at $4.79-1/4 a bushel after closing down two per cent on Tuesday.

“There’s still no shortage of wheat in the U.S. or the world,” Roose said.

U.S. winter wheat crop conditions were rated 53 per cent good-to-excellent, up from 52 per cent a week ago, the USDA said.

That was below a corresponding 58 per cent rating a year ago but showed U.S. wheat plants were benefiting from rain after suffering from dryness at the start of the growing season.

Egypt, one of the world’s biggest wheat importers, said it would buy 240,000 tonnes of French, Russian and Romanian wheat. The country has awarded most tenders this year to Black Sea and European suppliers, showing how U.S. wheat has remained uncompetitive.

Futures will not trade on Thursday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and the market will reopen on Friday.

Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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