U.S. grains: Corn, soy extend multi-year highs

Tightening global supply picture supportive; CBOT wheat also up

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn and soybean futures closed firm on Friday after rocketing to multi-year highs this week on tightening domestic and global supplies, traders said.

As stocks from the 2020 harvest dwindle, dryness in Brazil and a U.S. cold spell raised doubts about prospects for the 2021 corn crops in the world’s two biggest exporters of the feed grain, at a time of growing Chinese demand.

Futures markets were choppy at week’s end, dipping lower at times as traders booked profits. But prices ended modestly higher, led by nearby contracts ahead of the delivery period for Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) May futures, which begins next week.

“Nothing has fundamentally changed. It’s still a supply-demand story driving this market,” said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

CBOT July corn settled up one cent at $6.32-1/2 per bushel after reaching $6.36-1/2, a contract top and the highest on a continuous chart of the most-active corn contract since June 2013 (all figures US$).

CBOT July soybeans ended up 1-3/4 cents at $15.16 a bushel and July wheat finished up 1-3/4 cents at $7.12-1/4 a bushel. Benchmark soybeans and wheat reached their highest levels since 2014, and front-month CBOT soybean oil touched 63.5 cents/lb., the highest spot price in almost 13 years, before paring gains.

For the week, July corn rose 10.2 per cent, July soybeans rose 6.6 per cent and July wheat rose 8.7 per cent.

Given firm cash markets, traders expect no deliveries against CBOT May corn and soybean futures, a factor that lifted nearby May futures against back months.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed sales of 336,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to unknown destinations and another 136,680 tonnes to Guatemala, as well as 132,000 tonnes of soybeans to China. All the sales, however, covered new-crop supplies for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year beginning Sept. 1, a factor that limited the market impact.

CBOT wheat drew support from a weakening dollar, which tends to make U.S. grains more competitive on the export market.

After the CBOT close, top global wheat importer Egypt set an international tender to purchase wheat for August shipment. Results were expected next week.

— Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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