U.S. grains: Wheat, soy, corn rebound after early drops

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rallied on Tuesday, surging 2.4 per cent on a bargain buying rebound after falling to their lowest in nearly three weeks early in the session.

The gains in wheat spilled over into the corn market and soybean futures also rose, snapping a four session losing streak.

But strength in corn and soybeans was limited by forecasts for warmer weather that should allow farmers to pick up their pace of planting of spring crops after a slow start.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday afternoon said five per cent of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of Sunday, well behind the five-year average and lagging market expectations. Soybean planting was two per cent complete.

Additionally, concerns about exports continued to hang over the soybean market amid a trade dispute with top buyer China.

USDA said on Tuesday morning that private exporters reported the sale of 130,000 tonnes of soybeans to Argentina. There have been no announcements of deals with China in two weeks.

“Slower-than-expected U.S. plantings were mostly shrugged off by the trade, with better action ahead in the coming days and weeks,” said Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone. “A seasonally-unusual amount of attention is on the demand side at this point, with U.S. bean exports struggling.”

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures for May delivery settled up 1-1/2 cents at $10.22-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$). Prices found technical support from early declines at the 100-day moving average.

“There is uncertainty about China’s soybean imports after anti-dumping action on sorghum,” said an India-based agricultural commodities analyst.

CBOT May corn rose 2-3/4 cents to $3.81-1/4 a bushel. CBOT May wheat was up 11 cents at $4.72-1/2 a bushel.

USDA said Monday afternoon that 31 per cent of the U.S. wheat crop was in good-to-excellent condition, lower than analyst forecasts.

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

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