U.S. grains: Wheat futures rally as U.S. cold snap threatens crops

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Chicago | Reuters – U.S. wheat futures jumped on Tuesday as traders worried a cold snap would hurt recently planted crops.

Temperatures dropped near zero Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) in wheat-growing areas of the U.S. Plains, including in western Kansas, according to a daily weather report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A separate weekly USDA report, due at 3 p.m. CST (2100 GMT), is expected to show that good-to-excellent condition ratings for the nation’s winter wheat crop were unchanged at 57 percent as of Sunday, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

But some brokers were looking for a decline and said that next week’s report could reveal damage from this week’s cold spell.

“Crop ratings are going to come out today and will probably be contracted a little bit,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.

The most actively traded wheat contract rose 11-1/4 cents to $5.17 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, after dropping to its lowest price in November on Monday. December K.C. hard red winter wheat climbed 16 cents at $4.38-3/4.

The most-active corn contract rose 4-1/2 cents to $3.77-3/4 a bushel. In the previous session the contract matched its lowest price since Sept. 30.

Soybeans were near unchanged as the market stabilized after touching their lowest price since Oct. 8 earlier on Tuesday.

Grain prices were due to rebound after their recent declines, traders said.

“We went down to the lower end of the range, particularly on wheat,” Roose said.

Large global supplies and lackluster export demand continue to hang over U.S. wheat markets, analysts said.

However, the USDA reported 528,875 tonnes of U.S. wheat were inspected for export in the week ended Nov. 7. That was slightly above analysts’ estimates for 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

Corn and soybean inspections were within analysts’ expectations at 560,105 tonnes and 1.3 million tonnes, respectively.

U.S. soybean export sales have been hampered by the trade war with China, the world’s biggest importer of the oilseed.

“Soybeans continue to feel the negative impact of Chinese trade relations and how not only is future demand being questioned, but concern over existing sales already on the books,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst for AgriVisor.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday dangled the prospect of completing an initial trade deal with China “soon” but offered no new details on negotiations.

– Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore

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