U.S. grains: Wheat at three-month high, posts biggest weekly gain since 2012

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat rose to a three-month high on Friday and posted its biggest weekly gain in two years, buoyed by fund buying and worries about a cold spell that could harm U.S. crop prospects, traders said.

Soybeans fell, led by soymeal on softening export demand, and corn sagged on profit-taking after setting multi-month highs this week.

At the CBOT, December wheat settled up 6-3/4 cents at $5.60-1/2 per bushel after reaching $5.64-3/4, the highest spot price since Aug. 7 (all figures US$).

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January soybeans tumbled 31 cents at $10.22-1/2 a bushel, with December soymeal down $13.60 at $379.90 a ton. December corn ended down 4-1/2 cents at $3.81-3/4 a bushel.

For the week, CBOT wheat climbed 8.9 per cent, its biggest advance since July 2012. Wheat rose every day this week on frigid temperatures threatening U.S. crops and poor early growth in Russia and Ukraine, coupled with technical buying.

“It’s all about current weather conditions. Plus you are getting a lot of technically inspired buying. When you get new highs, trading funds just feed on that stuff,” said Tom Fritz, partner at EFG Group in Chicago.

Soybeans fell on profit-taking from this week’s three-month highs, and softening export demand for U.S. soymeal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net weekly soymeal export sales at 21,300 tonnes, a figure that included cancellations of 172,100 tonnes sold to unknown destinations.

“We have priced ourselves out of our own markets on soymeal, at the tail end of the harvest. I can see that in April and May, but at this time of year, that should not happen,” said Jack Scoville of the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Also bearish, the CBOT reported deliveries of 75 lots against the expiring November soybean futures contract, the first of the delivery cycle, which some traders viewed as a sign of softening cash markets.

Corn fell on profit-taking but still posted a weekly gain of 3.9 per cent. January soybeans ended the week down 1.4 per cent.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering crop commodity markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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