U.S. grains: Soybeans, corn, wheat rally to end week

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. soybean futures rose for the third consecutive day on Friday as demand for U.S. stocks of the oilseed remained strong while overseas buyers waited for supplies from the South American harvest to hit the market, traders said.

Wheat futures jumped on a round of short covering but remained stuck in recent trading ranges. The strength in wheat and soybeans spilled over to corn, which showed little independent strength.

For the week, soybeans rose 1.7 per cent and wheat posted a 1.3 per cent gain while corn firmed 0.5 per cent.

“Strong soy demand continues to hold up that complex this week despite the reality of a string of record harvests,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures settled up 6-3/4 cents at $9.90-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). The front-month contract hit its highest since Feb. 3 during the session.

“Soybean supplies are rising this year, but look at the projections for U.S. soybean exports. They (USDA) are talking about a record pace of shipments; that points to pretty strong demand,” said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

U.S. soybean processors likely maintained a healthy crushing pace during January as they scrambled to keep up with surging domestic demand, analysts said.

Soybean crushings were expected to come in at 162.673 million bushels in the National Oilseed Processors Association’s monthly report set for release on Tuesday, according to the average of estimates from nine analysts in a Reuters poll.

CBOT March corn was 4-1/4 cents higher at $3.87-1/4 a bushel while CBOT March wheat surged 11-3/4 cents to $5.33 a bushel.

Wheat ended the week near session highs, which traders said was a bullish technical signal for the market despite weak fundamentals such as low demand for U.S. supplies.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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