U.S. grains: Soybeans hold near 6-1/2-year peak as Argentina strike ends, dry weather remains

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Chicago | Reuters – U.S. soybean futures held near a 6-1/2 year high on Wednesday as investors shifted their focus from a now-resolved labor strike in Argentina that had pushed up prices to continued dry weather in South America that threatened the upcoming harvest.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat soared to a six-year peak in a fund buying and technical rally, while corn futures posted a fresh 6-1/2 year high on worries about dry South American weather and spillover support from higher wheat and soy.

Volatility was higher than normal as traders have been squaring positions and stepping away from the market ahead of the New Year holiday, with markets closed on Friday.

All soybean and CBOT wheat contracts and most corn contracts posted life-of-contract highs.

The resolution of a 20-day strike by Argentine oilseed workers, which had backed up more than 160 export vessels, pressured soybeans at times.

“Now that traders can not worry so much about the Argentine shipping lineup problems, which will get resolved over the next few weeks, they are shifting their focus back to the South American weather that remains pretty adverse,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

Portions of Brazil’s and Argentina’s farm belts have received beneficial rains, but conditions remain dry across key production areas, meteorologists said.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures were down 3 cents at $12.93 a bushel at 11:55 a.m. CST (1755 GMT) after hitting a contract high of $13.04 earlier in the session, the highest for a most-active contract since June 2014.

March corn was up 2 cents at $4.68 a bushel, also the loftiest for a most-active contract since June 2014.

CBOT March wheat was up 19-3/4 cents at $6.38 a bushel, the highest for a most-active contract since December 2014.

– Additional reporting by Emily Chow in Shanghai and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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