U.S. grains: Soybeans rise on dollar weakness, short-covering

Chicago/Reuters – Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session on Monday, touching a three-week high on short-covering, and as a weaker U.S. dollar raised hopes for fresh export sales.

Corn futures edged higher on support from fund short-covering and worries over a slow start to spring planting, while wheat declined on abundant stocks.

The U.S. dollar fell on relief over Emmanuel Macron’s victory against anti-euro nationalist Marine Le Pen in the first round of France’s presidential elections. A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated grains more affordable for those holding other currencies.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans rose 11 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $9.71-3/4 a bushel, the contract’s highest in a week.

CBOT July corn climbed 1-3/4 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $3.65-1/2 a bushel after hitting a near four-month low on Friday.

CBOT July wheat shed 1-3/4 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $4.19-1/4 a bushel but held above Friday’s contract low of $4.16-1/4.

Commodity funds bought a net 8,000 contracts each of corn and soybeans and were net sellers of 3,500 wheat contracts, trade sources estimated.

“Even though planting is delayed, there’s really not enough there to entice any fresh buying interest,” said Karl Setzer, analyst with MaxYield Cooperative. “But in an oversold market, it doesn’t take a lot to push it higher.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report is expected to show U.S. corn planting was 15 percent complete as of Sunday, according to an average of estimates by 11 analysts polled on Monday, well behind last year’s pace.

Mostly dry weather early this week should allow Midwest farmers to accelerate plantings before a round of rain later this week.

Large speculators increased net short positions in CBOT corn futures in the week to April 18, regulatory data showed on Friday.

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

– Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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