U.S. grains: Soybeans hit two-month high

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. grain and oilseed futures rose more than one per cent on Wednesday, lifted by investment fund buying and expectations for increased export demand as harvests neared completion, traders and analysts said.

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures climbed to a two-month high. Soymeal futures surged more than three per cent for their largest daily gains since June as traders unwound soymeal-soyoil spreads.

The harvest of a record-large U.S. soybean crop was three-quarters finished, and farmer sales of fresh supplies was expected to slow soon, R.J. O’Brien analyst Rich Feltes said.

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“Once the crop is off the land… everything is going to be tough to buy,” Feltes said, suggesting farmers will stow away unsold supplies in the hopes of selling later at higher prices.

Weekly U.S. grain and soy export data was due early on Thursday and many traders expected lofty sales of soybeans, with estimates as high as 2.5 million tonnes. Sales of corn could top 1.2 million tonnes and wheat 550,000 tonnes, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

“I think there will be another huge bean export sales number tomorrow, and likely another big inspection number on Monday,” Feltes said.

CBOT November soybean futures settled 19-1/4 cents higher at $10.10 per bushel, highest since Aug. 24 (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn finished 4-3/4 cents higher at $3.54 per bushel and CBOT December wheat up 7-1/4 cents to $4.11-1/2 per bushel.

The dollar eased from Tuesday’s nine-month high against a basket of currencies, making U.S. goods comparatively cheaper in some international markets.

“The U.S. dollar index has been taking a breather… and supporting the grain complex,” INTL FCStone analyst Matt Zeller said in a note to clients.

Gains in wheat came after top global buyer Egypt on Tuesday made its biggest purchase in more than a year.

“Egypt’s state grains buyer GASC made a large purchase of 420,000 tonnes of wheat in a tender on Tuesday at prices mostly higher than at its previous tender on Oct. 20, which is an overall encouraging demand sign with U.S. wheat offered but not bought by GASC,” said Graydon Chong, senior commodity analyst at Rabobank.

The large GASC purchase raises hopes that Egypt’s wheat imports are normalizing after massive disruption in recent months from conflicting rules on levels of the ergot fungus in imports. This could help to soak up large global wheat supplies.

Michael Hirtzer reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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