U.S. grains: Weather concerns prompt short-covering in wheat

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures jumped 2.3 per cent on Thursday, posting their third gain in the last four sessions as some weather concerns provided the impetus for traders to cover short positions.

The forecast for more rain, which could slow the tail end of seeding in parts of the U.S. Midwest, also lent support to soybeans and corn, traders said. All three commodities closed near session highs, a bullish sign.

“It is a little early in the game (to assume a big harvest) as things have gotten maybe a little less than perfect in some areas,” said Greg Grow, director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services. “That has all kind of conspired this week for a reason to do some short covering.”

Wheat notched the biggest gains, with some reports of low test weights and weak yields from some early harvested fields in Texas lending strength after prices trended lower during the overnight trading session.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat for July delivery settled up 13 cents at $5.23-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). The contract also found some technical support after dipping below its 100-day moving average.

“The recent heavy rains in the U.S. southern Plains have raised concerns of some yield and/or quality losses for the hard red winter wheat crop,” Societe Generale said in a commodities review.

Dry weather that was threatening to dent production totals in Russia fortified wheat prices.

CBOT July soybeans were 11-1/4 cents higher at $9.46-1/2 a bushel while CBOT July corn gained 4-1/2 cents to $3.63-1/2 a bushel. Both contracts weakened overnight before finding support at their 10-day moving averages.

Soybeans hit their highest since May 19.

“Showers remain frequent in the southwest Midwest and slow the most notably delayed soy seeding in Missouri and Kansas, with the heaviest amounts likely in the next two days and again late next week,” Commodity Weather Group said in a research note.

Gains in wheat added support to corn prices, which hit their highest since May 22.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London.

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