U.S. grains: Soy at six-week top on exports, yield uncertainty

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures hit a six-week high on Friday on stepped-up export demand and uncertainty about the size of the U.S. crop, analysts said.

Corn followed the firm trend, supported by chart-based buying. Chicago Board of Trade December wheat set a one-month high but turned lower.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans settled up 13-1/2 cents at $9.84-1/4 per bushel after reaching $9.87, the contract’s highest since Aug. 10 (all figures US$).

CBOT December corn rose 3-1/4 cents at $3.53-1/2 a bushel. December wheat ended down three cents at $4.49-1/2 after climbing to $4.55, its highest since Aug. 16.

Soybeans set the firm tone, with the November contract pushing through resistance at its 200-day moving average near $9.78-1/2 to spur technical buying.

The market got a boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirming that private exporters sold 190,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to Mexico — the 10th daily soybean sales announcement in the last 11 business days.

“The demand is just so strong. We are off to a fine start with export shipments. The sales are trailing last year, but certainly coming on here as buyers step forward,” said Brian Basting, analyst with Advance Trading.

Uncertainty about the national soybean yield also lent support. USDA in a monthly report last week raised its U.S. yield forecast to 49.9 bushels per acre, up from 49.4 in August.

“On paper, we’ve got a record bean crop. But people are still uncertain about that, and we have to let it play out. Once we get to October, the combines will tell the story,” Basting said.

The U.S. soybean harvest was only four per cent harvested as of Sept. 17, near the average pace, USDA said.

CBOT December corn hit a one-week high at $3.56-1/4 but pared gains. The U.S. corn harvest is in its early stages in the core Midwest crop belt, and hot weather this week is helping pushing crops to maturity.

CBOT wheat futures turned lower on profit-taking after the front contract hit its highest in a month. CBOT wheat also lost ground to K.C. hard red winter wheat and Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) spring wheat futures as traders exited inter-market spread positions.

MGEX December spring wheat ended up 10-1/2 cents at $6.34-3/4 a bushel.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent Reuters in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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