U.S. grains: Weather worries push wheat futures higher

Soybeans firm, corn slips

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose on Friday, supported by concerns that arctic temperatures in key growing areas could damage the dormant crop during the weekend, traders said.

“Cold temperatures, chiefly domestically, lesser so abroad, will keep the wheat trade watching winterkill prospects over the weekend,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at StoneX, said in a note to clients.

Soybean futures also were firm, turning higher after trading in negative territory for much of the morning as traders squared positions ahead of the weekend. Tight supplies continued to underpin prices as export demand for U.S. soy ate into domestic stockpiles through January due to harvest delays in Brazil.

Corn futures eased on a technical setback but closed well above session lows.

Expectations for bumper harvests in South America despite dryness concerns throughout the growing season pressured both corn and soybeans.

Chicago Board of Trade March corn futures settled down 2-1/4 cents at $5.38-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). For the week, corn futures dropped 1.8 per cent, posting only their second weekly loss in the last 10 weeks.

CBOT March soybean futures were 4-1/2 cents higher at $13.72 a bushel.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat was up 3-1/4 cents at $6.36-3/4 a bushel. K.C. hard red winter wheat was 5-3/4 cents higher at $6.16-3/4 a bushel.

Commodity Weather Group estimated that 10 per cent of the U.S. soft wheat crop and 15 per cent of the hard wheat crop were at risk of damage from the cold.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday morning said private exporters reported the sale of 195,338 tonnes of corn to Costa Rica and 115,577 tonnes of corn to Guatemala.

— Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Canberra.

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