U.S. grains: Wheat, corn bounce on short-covering

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose on Friday, supported by lingering concerns about crop damage in the U.S. Plains following a snow storm at the weekend.

Short-covering also contributed to the wheat gains as traders covered bearish bets following a sell-off on Thursday.

Corn futures also rose, with traders noting short-covering as a supportive factor.

Soybeans weakened on a round of profit-taking after hitting a six-week high during the session.

Chicago Board of Trade July soft red winter wheat futures rose 4-1/2 cents to $4.42-1/4 a bushel, capping a week that saw prices rise 2.4 per cent (all figures US$). K.C. July winter wheat, which tracks the crop being grown in the U.S. Plains, settled up 5-1/2 cents at $4.50 a bushel.

The Wheat Quality Council’s three-day tour of Kansas wrapped up on Thursday, with scouts projecting above-average yields. But they were unable to assess how late-season snow that fell over the weekend and flattened some fields and snapped stalks in the western part of the state would affect developing plants.

Agronomists have said it would be weeks before the extent of the damage is known.

“Wheat bounced back as the trade looked at the fine print of the Wheat Quality Council tour numbers; big yields, but big abandonment, with small bushels,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED+F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.

CBOT July soybeans ended down 1-1/4 cents at $9.73 a bushel. Prices peaked at $9.83 a bushel, the highest since March 24. For the week, soybeans rose 1.8 per cent, their biggest weekly gain since February.

Concerns that rains in southern growing areas and some eastern parts of the U.S. Midwest damaged recently seeded crops limited declines in soybeans.

“Rains of 1/2 inch to 1-1/2 inches fell across the Delta yesterday, delaying soybean planting and likely needing replanting in a few areas,” CHS Hedging market analyst Ray Remmert said in a note to clients.

CBOT July corn was up 4-1/4 cents at $3.70-3/4 a bushel. It rose 1.4 per cent this week.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London.

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