U.S. grains: Corn, soy, wheat rise on bargain buying bounce

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn, soybean and wheat futures rose on Thursday, supported by a round of bargain-buying after all three commodities fell sharply on Wednesday, traders said.

Tight stocks and strength in the cash market also supported soybean prices. U.S. farmers have not sold much to processors and elevators in recent weeks because they were reluctant to part with the small amounts of the oilseed they had left in storage bins. Gains in the soyoil market spilled over to soybeans.

Corn remained underpinned by signs of strong demand and the prospect that U.S. farmers will plant less corn and get a late start on field work.

Traders said the downturn on Wednesday slowed farmer sales of corn.

“Producer selling has picked up on the recent rally, but interest wanes considerably under $5,” Art Liming, futures specialist with Citigroup, said in a note to clients (all figures US$).

CBOT May corn closed up 4-1/4 cents higher at $5 a bushel.

“There is a little bit of fear that with these colder temperatures you could end up with planting delays,” said Jason Britt, president of Central States Commodities.

Weekly U.S. export sales confirmed brisk demand for U.S. corn, with 960,600 tonnes sold for the current marketing year, within a range of trade estimates and down from 1.4 million the prior week.

CBOT May soybeans were up 13 cents at $14.75-1/4 a bushel.

Export demand for U.S. soybeans was weak, limiting the gains on Thursday. Most overseas buyers had turned their attention to Brazil and Argentina due to cheaper prices from those countries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said weekly soybean export sales of old-crop U.S. supplies were 66,200 tonnes, near the low end of forecasts for zero to 200,000 tonnes.

Private analytics firm Informa Economics trimmed its estimate of the 2013-14 Brazilian soybean crop to 86.75 million tonnes from its previous forecast of 88.6 million, trade sources said. It raised its outlook for the Argentine soy harvest by 500,000 tonnes to 54.5 million.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat was 6-3/4 cents higher at $6.76 a bushel. Technical buyers stepped in when the contract dipped near its 30-day moving average.

The prospect of rain in the drought-hit U.S. Plains as well as easing concerns about disruption to trade in Ukraine, a major wheat producer, and Russia contributed to selling earlier this week.

But showers in the U.S. Plains are expected to be light and the market will be watching the resumption of nationwide crop progress data from USDA on Monday for a clearer picture on wheat crops.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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