U.S. grains: Wheat rallies to one-week top, pulls corn higher

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose on Wednesday, with the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract gaining 1.9 per cent and hitting a one-week high on concerns that rains forecast for the U.S. Plains will not meet earlier expectations.

“The forecast for the rain in the southern Plains has backed off just a little bit,” said Dan O’Bryan, risk management specialist and broker at Top Third Ag Marketing. “You start to take some of that rain out, you get a little bit of short-covering.”

There was additional concern that it was too late for the amount of rain in the forecast to help improve harvest prospects for the drought-stressed crop.

Corn futures followed the rally in wheat, but gains were capped by outlooks for warmer weather that will allow farmers to make quick progress in planting in the coming weeks.

Soybean futures eased, with traders locking in profits from gains early in the session amid ongoing concerns about an escalating trade dispute with China cutting into exports to the world’s largest buyer of the oilseed.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures settled up nine cents at $4.75-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). K.C. hard red winter wheat futures were 8-1/4 cents higher at $4.88-3/4 a bushel.

CBOT wheat fell 2.2 per cent on Monday, capping a four-session losing streak that saw prices fall nearly 30 cents.

“We sold the rumour earlier this week,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “You are getting a little bit of buying the fact when the fact does not quite live up to expectations.”

CBOT May corn was 2-3/4 cents higher at $3.83 a bushel.

Traders were assessing potential fallout from a Chinese anti-dumping measure against U.S. sorghum and how this would affect global trade in grains used in livestock feed.

China said on Tuesday it would slap a hefty anti-dumping deposit on imports of U.S. sorghum, fuelling trade tensions between the world’s top two economies.

Australian sorghum prices rose on Wednesday on expectations of increased Chinese demand, while some traders said China’s restrictions on U.S. sorghum could spur more feed barley imports.

CBOT May soybean futures were 4-1/4 cents lower at $10.41-3/4 a bushel.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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