U.S. grains: Soy futures edge higher

Chicago/Reuters – U.S. soybean futures firmed on Wednesday, posting a mild recovery from two days of losses after holding technical support above the one-year lows hit last week.

Corn futures ended flat, while wheat weakened as plentiful world stocks suppressed an early rally attempt. Traders said the market was assessing the chances for drier spells in the U.S. Midwest after a rain-slowed start to spring planting.

A report released on Monday that showed lower-than-expected U.S. crushing demand last month has pressured soybean prices this week but some technical buyers stepped into the market on Wednesday despite the overall bearish picture.

“You cannot go down everyday,” said Jim Gerlach, president of Indiana-based A/C Trading.

Chicago Board of Trade May soybean futures settled up 4-1/4 cents at $9.50-1/4 a bushel.

CBOT May corn futures were unchanged at $3.61-3/4 a bushel.

“Planting remains at turtle like speeds as ground temperatures are subpar and field conditions are wet in areas,” Ridge Erdmann, ag associate at CHS Hedging, said in a note to clients.

Expectations of drier weather in the U.S. Midwest drove corn down more than 1 percent on Tuesday, but the latest forecasts also pointed to showers in the week ahead.

“Showery conditions are still expected to interrupt field work across the Midwest — and particularly the lower Midwest — for the next 10 days or so,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said in a note.

But forecasters are now looking at drier weather at the end of April or start of May in the U.S. Midwest, Gorey said.

CBOT May soft red winter wheat futures were 3-1/2 cents lower at $4.19 a bushel. MGEX spring wheat and K.C. hard red winter wheat also closed in negative territory.

Beneficial moisture in the U.S. Plains has kept the focus on ample global supply, despite emerging weather worries in Europe where crops face spring frosts this week on top of recent dryness.

The wheat market was also waiting to see whether India would continue to import large volumes in the coming season, amid uncertainty over what import terms it will impose.

– Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila and Gus Trompiz in Paris

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