U.S. grains: Soy up for fourth session on Argentina crop concerns

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soybean futures rose on Wednesday for a fourth straight session, notching a six-month high on worries that recent heavy rains could damage crops in Argentina.

Wheat and corn closed lower on a round of profit-taking after multi-month highs.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans settled up 5-3/4 cents at $10.75 per bushel after reaching $10.80, the contract’s highest level since mid-July (all figures US$).

“Traders are just getting bulled up that we’re going to lose a good amount of beans in Argentina,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

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“The hot and dry weather that is expected to set in this week is not favorable for plants after seeing localized flooding. It poses a risk of one extreme to the next,” Reilly said.

Soybeans are processed into soymeal, a high-protein animal feed ingredient, and soyoil, which is used in foods and in biodiesel fuel. As with soybeans, spot CBOT soymeal  futures set a six-month top.

“The soybean meal market lead the charge today. With Argentina being the No. 1 world exporter of soybean meal, it’s all about the ongoing Argentine growing situation,” said commodity broker Tom Fritz of EFG Group in Chicago.

Heavy rain inundated key Argentinian soybean-growing areas over the weekend, raising doubts about the crop in a season which has already seen a reduction in soy planting as growers turn more toward corn.

Corn closed lower after a back-and-forth session. CBOT March corn settled down 1/2 cent at $3.65 per bushel after reaching $3.67-3/4, its highest since Oct. 20, a level that appeared to trigger profit-taking and farmer selling in the U.S. Midwest.

Wheat also eased, with the CBOT March contract ending down 2-1/2 cents at $4.31 per bushel.

A rebound in the dollar added pressure, making U.S. grains less attractive on the global marketplace.

The U.S. dollar index rose after hitting a nearly six-week low the previous day after U.S. president-elect Donald Trump complained that dollar strength was hurting trade relations with China.

Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen and Renita D. Young; additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan and Naveen Thukral.

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