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U.S. grains: Wheat jumps on short-covering

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures climbed more than one per cent on Monday as traders covered short positions following U.S. regulatory data last week showing an unexpectedly large build in bearish wheat bets.

Soybean and corn futures both were flat to narrowly mixed in thin-volume trading, with some soybean contracts rebounding from Friday’s losses on support from U.S. Department of Agriculture data showing big shipments and new sales of soybeans to China.

CBOT wheat for December delivery was up 7-3/4 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $4.16-1/4 per bushel, extending gains after earlier testing Friday’s settlement price of about $4.08 (all figures US$).

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission after the close of trading on Friday said speculative traders added a net total of 25,081 short wheat futures positions in addition to expanding their net soybean long by 17,795 contracts and trimming their net short in corn by 5,948 contracts.

Wheat rallied despite outlooks for crop-friendly rains in extended forecasts for the southern U.S. Plains wheat belt.

“The moisture would be extremely welcome… it would really help stands going into dormancy,” said Global Commodity Analytics analyst Mike Zuzolo.

“It will be interesting to see if wheat can hang on to the gains,” he said, adding that traders could add to buying if wheat prices surpass $4.20 per bushel.

CBOT January soybeans were down 1/4 cent to $10.11-3/4 and CBOT December corn was down 1/4 cent to $3.54-3/4.

USDA said 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans were sold to China and that another 2.87 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans were inspected last week for export.

Robust export demand for U.S. soybeans and corn has offset pressure from record-large U.S. soy and corn harvests.

USDA said after the close of trading that the U.S. soy harvest was 87 per cent complete and corn 75 per cent done, roughly in line with analyst expectations.

Soybeans hit a two-month high last week before easing and some investors already were looking ahead to a USDA monthly supply and demand report due on Nov. 9.

“The funds are well aware that U.S. soybean supplies are very large and, for now, the South American crop has no major issues. Consequently the temptation to take profits on any rallies will be difficult to resist,” said Tobin Gorey, director, agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Michael Hirtzer reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney.

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