U.S. grains: Soybeans rebound on Argentina rains

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybeans rebounded on Wednesday from multi-month lows sparked a day earlier by fears of harvest delays in Argentina, while China’s return to the market after a holiday helped boost prices, analysts said.

Corn and wheat followed the strength in soybeans, but rising stockpiles of corn-based ethanol pressured corn futures at times.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybean futures settled up 6-1/2 cents at $9.44-1/4 per bushel (all figures US$). May corn ended up 1-3/4 cents at $3.64-3/4 a bushel and May wheat rose 2-3/4 cents at $4.29-3/4 a bushel.

Soybeans drew support from rains in Argentina that have stalled the soybean harvest. A year ago, flooding disrupted harvesting and sent prices soaring.

“We have had a lot of rain in parts of Argentina that could slow some harvest down. That’s the fundamental support,” said Brian Hoops, analyst with Midwest Marketing Solutions.

Also, the CBOT May contract managed to hold above Tuesday’s low of $9.36-1/2, the lowest spot price in six months.

“That has allowed us to have a little bit of short-covering,” Hoops said.

Traders in top global soy buyer China returned to the market following a two-day holiday, triggering hopes of fresh export business.

“Usually when we’ve had a (price) dip like we’ve had when they are on holiday, they come in and buy a little bit. So the market might be looking for that,” said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge.

The soybean bounce buoyed corn, as did worries about a slow start to planting in the heart of the Midwest following rains this week.

“There is a little concern that we could have a bit of a sloppy planting season. With the planting intentions report we saw on Friday, with a big drop in corn acres, that might be a problem for corn,” Seifried said.

However, he cautioned that Midwest farmers still have plenty of time to plant and can move quickly, especially with modern machinery.

Corn futures briefly turned lower after weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed inventories of corn-based ethanol fuel reached a record high last week as output fell.

Wheat futures followed soybeans and corn amid a lack of news. Commodity funds hold a large net short position in CBOT wheat, leaving the market open to bouts of short-covering.

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

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