U.S. grains: Wheat rallies 1.5 per cent

Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. wheat, corn and soybean futures all firmed on Thursday on support from better-than-expected export sales reports for all three commodities, traders said.

Gains in soybeans were limited by a huge global supply base following bumper harvests across the U.S. Midwest as well as improving crop weather in South America.

Wheat notched the biggest increases, rising 1.5 per cent and snapping a four-session losing streak. Wheat received additional strength from a round of short-covering following the front-month soft red winter wheat contract’s decline to its lowest in nearly a month on Wednesday.

“Overnight trade was mostly quiet, but good export sales took the market a couple cents higher,” brokerage INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture early Thursday reported weekly export sales of wheat for the 2015-16 marketing year totaled 721,900 tonnes in the latest week, the most in 3-1/2 months. The total topped market forecasts of 200,000 to 400,000 tonnes.

Soybean export sales came in at 1.798 million tonnes, also above market expectations. Corn export sales of 779,800 tonnes were the most in seven weeks.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat settled up 7-1/2 cents at $4.90-3/4 a bushel, CBOT January soybean futures added 2-1/4 cents at $8.60 a bushel, and CBOT December corn ended 2-1/2 cents higher at $3.64-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). The last time all three rose on the same day was Nov. 11.

Supply prospects for both corn and soybeans were also boosted by a turn to favorable growing weather in South America, with rain in Brazil expected to help crops after dry conditions at the start of the planting season.

“Expansive (rain) coverage in the next two weeks remains likely to further limit any near-term dryness concern and will recharge topsoil moisture,” the Commodity Weather Group said in a note, referring to Brazilian crop belts.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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