U.S. grains: Soy surges as export hopes rise

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean, corn and wheat futures rose on Friday on bargain buying after all three commodities posted sharp declines on Thursday.

Soybeans led the gains, with the most-active contract rising 2.6 per cent. Underpinning soy were hopes that the U.S. exporters will continue to pick up overseas demand even as harvest progresses in Argentina, traders said.

“(The harvested soybeans) do not look very good, quality-wise,” said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. “We are going to win more export business because of the better-quality beans than they have down there.”

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures for July delivery rose 22-1/2 cents to settle at $10.34-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

CBOT July corn futures gained 3-3/4 cents to close at $3.77-1/2 a bushel. CBOT July soft red winter wheat was 1/2 cent higher at $4.63-3/4 a bushel.

Gains in wheat were kept in check by expectations of a robust hard red winter wheat crop in the U.S. despite a cutback in seedings.

Wheat crop prospects in Kansas are well above average as rains last month should more than offset the impact of an earlier drought, scouts on an annual tour said on Thursday.

“The U.S. hard red winter wheat market was headed for indigestion at harvest anyway,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, commenting on a market that already has a sizeable surplus which he said would be even bigger if the forecasts prove to be correct.

For the week, the most actively traded CBOT soft red winter wheat contract fell 5.1 per cent, on track for its biggest weekly loss since mid-November.

CBOT corn was down 3.8 per cent for the week while CBOT soybeans were up 0.9 per cent. Soybeans have risen for four weeks in a row and nine of the last 10.

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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