U.S. grains: Soybeans gain on China demand

Improved U.S. rating lifts expectations for bumper corn crop; wheat up on pre-report positioning

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago soybean futures gained on Wednesday, supported by solid demand from the world’s biggest importer, China, while corn edged lower on strong crop conditions.

Wheat inched higher after falling for three consecutive sessions, but advances remained capped by a progressing winter wheat harvest in the U.S. southern Plains. Traders positioned ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply and demand report due on Thursday.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) ended 2-1/4 cents higher at $8.65-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$).

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Corn slipped 1-1/4 cents to $3.26-1/4 a bushel, while wheat gained 1-3/4 cents to $5.06-1/4 a bushel.

China has made a string of purchases of U.S. soybeans recently. Traders reported the latest on Tuesday, when they said Chinese state-owned Sinograin bought at least 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans for shipment in December.

“U.S. beans at the Gulf are cheaper than Brazil soybeans, and Brazil soybeans are getting more sold out as we go,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “We have the market window, as we get deeper into the summer.”

The corn market continued to sag after a U.S. crop progress report on Monday showed improving crop conditions.

Ethanol production increased by 72,000 barrels per day last week, the U.S. Energy Information Energy reported on Wednesday, while stocks of the corn-based fuel dropped 674,000 billion barrels.

“The fact that we continue to increase, and stocks continue to decrease is supportive,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “It’s just not happening fast enough to live up to USDA’s annual pace they’re projecting.”

Wheat was supported by continued dryness in Russia, traders said, although much-needed rains are improving the outlook for the top wheat exporter as it nears harvest.

Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it bought 120,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international purchase tender.

Reporting for Reuters by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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