Chicago | Reuters – U.S. soybean futures were mixed on Monday as continued strong U.S. exports fuelled concern over tightening supplies, although crop-boosting rains in South America over the weekend lessened some of the concern.
Corn was firmer on solid global demand for the grain. Wheat futures followed, lifted by technical buying and short covering after hitting a two-month low.
Investors took positions ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supply-and-demand report due on Thursday which will offer the agency’s latest view on South American crops.
“The trade is going to keep a weather premium built into this market until it sees Thursday’s report,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Solutions.
“A strong export market always draws attention back to the weather. With Argentina and some key areas of Brazil still missing a lot of precipitation, you’ve got to wonder if supplies are falling faster than demand.”
Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans traded higher and lower on Monday but settled 4-1/2 cents lower at $11.58-1/2 a bushel. March corn was up 3-1/2 cents at $4.24 a bushel, while CBOT March wheat rose 2 cents to $5.77-1/2 a bushel.
Weekend rains in northern and central Brazil brought relief to parched crops, but a portion of the country’s farm belt remains in a moisture deficit, meteorologists said. Argentina is also dry in key production areas.
Tightening soybean stocks and robust demand from top importer China supported soybean prices at times on Monday. Customs data showed China imported 9.59 million tonnes of mostly U.S. soybeans in November, up from 8.7 million the prior month.
The USDA on Monday said 2.297 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans were inspected for export last week, above trade expectations for 1.5 to 2.2 million.
– Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore