U.S. grains: Soy rises on export prospects

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday, notching their second straight weekly gain, bolstered by signs of strong export demand, traders said.

Wheat futures were mixed, with winter wheat contracts easing while spring wheat contracts firmed amid concerns about crop shortfalls. Corn closed slightly firm after trading both sides of unchanged during Friday’s session.

U.S. soybeans were priced at a strong discount to supplies from Brazil, prompting a pick-up in demand from many countries even as China, the world’s top buyer of the oilseed, continues to shun deals with the U.S. amid a trade fight.

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Additionally, some traders said China will be forced to pick up some U.S. soybeans to meet its needs in the coming months.

“Soybean exports continue to roll despite the trade skirmishes and the trade knows China has to come crawling back at some point,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for November delivery settled up 9-1/4 cents at $8.85-1/4 a bushel (all figures US$).

The most active contract rose 2.4 per cent this week, the first time soybean futures have posted two straight weekly gains since March.

Soybean exports have been a bright spot in the U.S. economy. Commerce Department data released on Friday showed that the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly four years in the second quarter as consumers boosted spending and farmers rushed shipments of soybeans to China to beat retaliatory trade tariffs before they took effect in early July.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat futures ended down six cents at $5.30-1/2 a bushel and K.C. September hard red winter wheat was down 1-1/2 cents at $5.32-1/2 a bushel. But MGEX September spring wheat futures were 4-3/4 cents higher at $5.92-1/2 a bushel.

Scouts on an annual crop tour of North Dakota, the top U.S. spring wheat producer, found below-average harvest potential in this year’s crop, with hot weather likely curbing production and falling well below USDA’s projection for record-tying yields.

World wheat production is set to fall to a five-year low following significant downgrades to crop prospects in the European Union and Russia, the International Grains Council said on Thursday.

CBOT September corn futures were 1/2 cent higher at $3.62 a bushel.

Corn rose 1.8 per cent this week while CBOT soft red winter wheat rose 2.8 per cent.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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