U.S. grains: Soybeans, meal rise on Argentina weather

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose to a three-week high on Monday and soymeal jumped more than two per cent on buying backed by concerns that dry weather in Argentina will hurt crop yields.

Corn futures fell more than one per cent, reversing early gains after technical selling, while wheat futures also eased on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soymeal notched its largest daily gains in about two weeks, with the most-active CBOT January contract up $7.30 to $337.50 per ton (all figures US$).

CBOT January soybean futures climbed 4-1/4 cents to $9.98-1/4 per bushel, its highest since Nov. 7.

Investment funds were net buyers of both futures contracts and net sellers of corn, wheat and soyoil, traders said.

Rainfall over the weekend was limited in parts of Argentina, the top global soymeal and soyoil exporter, and showers were expected to be limited this week, MDA Weather Services said in a note to clients.

“Meal is the deal,” said EFG Group analyst Tom Fritz, adding that U.S. soymeal was competitively priced with Argentine supplies in global markets.

In addition, U.S. Department of Agriculture data (USDA) released after the close of trading on Friday showed the U.S. soy crush in October at about 176 million bushels, above analysts’ estimates and a reflection of strong domestic soy demand.

CBOT March corn was down 5-1/4 cents to $3.53-1/2 per bushel, after hitting a multiweek high of $3.60-1/2.

“We challenged resistance and balked,” Fritz said of corn.

CBOT March wheat was down 3-1/4 cents to $4.35-1/4, also declining after earlier gains.

Concerns over storms damaging Australia’s wheat crop eased after less-than-expected rain over the country’s southeastern region.

“The market’s fears about several days of heavy rainfall in southeastern crop regions were clearly subsiding on Friday,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “And these regions seem to have received a lot less rain than was feared on Wednesday and Thursday last week.”

Large speculators trimmed their net short position in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures in the week to Nov. 28, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly commitments of traders report also showed non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their net short position in CBOT wheat and switched to a net long position in soybeans.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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