U.S. grains: Soybeans rally as planting slows, crop concerns emerge

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose as much as 2.5 per cent on Tuesday, supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cut to crop ratings and its report showing planting has fallen behind the typical pace, traders said.

Corn futures rose too, firming on bargain buying after posting a sharp decline on Monday. The gains in corn, which also received support from declining crop ratings, pulled it from contract lows.

“The low held overnight thanks to lowered crop ratings,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients. “The bears may have a tough time taking it much further in the next two weeks.”

USDA will release its closely watched reports on corn and soybean plantings as well as quarterly stocks at the end of June.

CBOT July soybean futures settled up 19-3/4 cents at $9.57-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$).

New-crop soybean contracts notched the biggest gains due to the concerns about crop development and the seeding delays leading to cuts in acreage.

CBOT November soybeans rose 23-1/4 cents to $9.27-1/2 a bushel, its highest settlement since May 18.

USDA said Monday afternoon the soybean crop was rated 67 per cent good to excellent, down from 69 per cent last week following rains in the U.S. Midwest and southern Plains.

Overall, 87 per cent of the soy crop was planted, up from 79 per cent the week before but still behind the five-year average of 90 per cent by mid-June.

CBOT July corn, which had fallen for five sessions in a row, ended up 5-3/4 cents at $3.54 a bushel. USDA lowered its good-to-excellent rating for the U.S. corn crop by one percentage point to 73 per cent.

CBOT July wheat dropped 1/2 cent to $4.88-3/4 a bushel.

Traders said that the forecast for drier weather, which will allow farmers in the U.S. Plains to harvest the winter wheat crop, weighed on prices.

Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore.

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