U.S. grains: Soybeans climb on exports, end week lower

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Chicago | Reuters – Chicago soybean futures gained on Friday after a second day of fresh export sales buoyed demand prospects, though forecasts for rain across the U.S. Midwest through the weekend capped gains.

Corn was little changed while wheat added as harvest setbacks in North America, Russia and Western Europe raised concern over tightening export supplies.

Attention in grain markets was shifting toward next week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) monthly supply and demand outlook.

The most active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade added 8-1/4 cents to $13.36-3/4 per bushel, though it lost 12-1/2 cents for the week.

CBOT corn gained 3-1/2 cents to $5.56-1/2, adding a total of 11-1/4 cents, a 2.06 percent gain, for the week.

Wheat firmed 6-1/4 cents to $7.19 per bushel, firming a total of 15-1/4 cents for the week, a 2.17 percent gain.

Exporters reported a sale of 131,000 tonnes of soybeans to China on Friday morning, marking the second consecutive daily soybean sales notice, though weekly sales have been lighter than what is needed to meet USDA export targets.

“While it’s good to see some sales trickle through, we’re well off the pace we need,” said Ted Seifried, vice president at Zaner Group. “If the demand’s not there, it doesn’t really matter if this crop comes in light.”

Delayed harvests in South America could mean China is still working through feed grain reserves purchased from top producers Brazil and Argentina, and may not resume U.S. purchases as swiftly as in previous years, Seifried said.

Forecasts for rain over the weekend capped gains in soybeans and corn, though dryness persists.

“The forecast put down some rain. I wouldn’t say it’s abundant, but it does look a little wetter, short-term. But you’re still going to have areas that are suspect,” said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity.

Corn traded near even, underpinned by dwindling prospects for the second corn crop in rival exporter Brazil.

“I don’t think we’ll see as much pressure in corn, because of the problems in South America,” said Seifried. “Any bigger dip in corn is going to find global end users coming in to buy.”

U.S. and Canadian farmers anticipate sharply smaller spring wheat harvests from drought, while analysts have reduced Russian harvest estimates on disappointing yields and reduced planted area.

Heavy summer rain, meanwhile, has delayed harvesting in parts of Europe and was causing difficulties with milling quality in France.

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