U.S. grains: Soybeans up with exports, corn up slightly on dry weather

Big expected Russian, Canadian crops weaken wheat

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago soybean futures rose on Monday as a spate of new-crop soybean export sales eased concerns about forecasts of huge harvests across the U.S. Midwest.

Corn futures were buoyed by dryness in top corn-producing states, as weekend rainfall missed drought-stricken parts of western Iowa.

Meanwhile, wheat futures slipped on estimates for large Canadian and Russian crops, as well as improving conditions in Australia — a potential grain glut that cast a pall over the broader grain complex.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s most active soybean contract climbed 5-3/4 cents to $8.73-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). Corn gained 2-1/4 cents to $3.23 a bushel and wheat fell 4-1/2 cents to $4.91 a bushel.

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Exporters reported sales of 699,000 tonnes of soybeans Monday, with 588,000 bound for China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“These sales are starting to add up,” said Mark Shultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity.

But uncertainty over whether grain supplies will overwhelm global demand added a bearish tone to Monday’s trade, and investors shored up their positions ahead of Wednesday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to forecast plentiful supplies and raise estimates for U.S. grains and oilseed crops.

Weather offered mixed signals for both corn and soybeans, as dry patches persist across much of Iowa, the top producing corn state, and raised questions about yields.

“I think we’re going to test these hybrids this year, to see how good they are with lack of moisture, especially on the western half of Iowa,” said Ed Dugan, risk management specialist at Top Third Ag Marketing.

While some weather models are calling for rain across the Midwest, “it has to be at least an inch of rain or better to turn the tide,” said Schultz.

— Reporting for Reuters by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan and Naveen Thukral.

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