Chicago | Reuters — U.S. corn futures firmed and soybeans posted their strongest advance in a month on Tuesday as rising equities and energy markets and a weakening U.S. dollar triggered short-covering in commodities battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wheat followed corn and soy higher but reversed course amid forecasts for crop-boosting rains in rival Black Sea export regions.
Grain gains were capped by lingering concerns about weak demand and plentiful supplies, with planting of U.S. spring crops progressing at a brisk pace.
“The economy thawing and people going back to work gave the market some excitement,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
U.S. stocks jumped as optimism about a potential coronavirus vaccine and a revival in business activity helped investors overlook simmering Sino-U.S. tensions. A weaker dollar, meanwhile, stirred hopes of improved U.S. exports.
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July soybeans jumped 13-3/4 cents to settle at $8.47 a bushel, while July corn gained a penny to $3.19 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT July wheat ended down two cents at $5.06-3/4 a bushel.
Soybeans drew strength from a U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement on Tuesday of fresh export sales to China, which vowed in a trade agreement to sharply increase purchases of U.S. farm products.
“China’s been slow on Phase One, but we had some soybean sales announced today. The feeling is that there is some business underneath this market from China trying to meet their commitments, and soybeans continue to be the focus,” Roose said.
Rains disrupted corn and soybean planting in some areas of the Midwest, but strong early season progress has raised expectations for a large crop.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect 90 per cent of the corn crop and 69 per cent of the soy crop to have been seeded by Sunday.
— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.