U.S. grains: Soybeans rise as wet Midwest weather seen halting harvest

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose for the first time in three sessions on Friday as a rainy Midwest forecast fueled worries about harvest delays and potential damage to some crops.

Wheat edged higher as rising global prices stirred optimism about a pickup in demand for U.S. wheat.

Corn futures ended near unchanged as strong export demand and worries about U.S. harvest delays lifted prices to one-month highs took prices to one-month peaks before profit-taking clipped gains.

Forecasts for several days of rain in the western Midwest have raised concerns the corn and soybean harvest, which has been ahead of the normal pace, could fall behind. Soybeans, in particular, are vulnerable as they tend to be more susceptible to damage when ripe crops are hit with prolonged rains.

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“The weather is definitely keeping beans afloat,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

“Harvesting efforts are expected to considerably slow across the western Corn Belt over the next 10 days,” he said.

Soybeans drew additional support from strong soymeal exports, Reilly said. Government export data, released on Friday, suggests that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is understating its soymeal export forecast by 600,000 to 650,000 short tons, he said.

Additionally, USDA on Friday reported private sales of 134,000 tonnes of soymeal to the Philippines.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans closed 9-3/4 cents higher at $8.69 a bushel, notching a 2.8 per cent weekly gain (all figures US$). Technical buying as the contract climbed above its 50-day moving average fueled gains.

December corn was up 3/4 cent at $3.68-1/4 a bushel after earlier touching a one-month peak of $3.69-1/2. The contract advanced 3.4 per cent in the week, its strongest gain in 11 weeks.

CBOT December wheat futures rose three cents to $5.21 a bushel, ending the week up 2.4 per cent.

Wheat prices remain supported by concerns about potential disruptions to shipments from Russia and drought in Australia.

“Despite denials from the authority in question, the market clearly still expects that wheat shipments from Russia may soon be restricted. What is more, crop estimates for Australia are being revised further downwards,” Commerzbank said in a market note.

Wheat prices were lifted this week by reports that Russian authorities may suspend operations in 30 grain loading points in two of the country’s top exporting regions.

The country’s safety watchdog subsequently said it had no immediate plans to do so.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Nigel Hunt in London.

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