U.S. soybeans jump after China purchase

U.S. soybean futures rose for a second day on Wednesday on export business that included China buying 120,000 tonnes and on a larger-than-expected October crush, a turnaround from sharp losses earlier in the week.

Export demand has increased as soybean prices have moved lower since early November. They were knocked to a 4-1/2 month low on Tuesday on technical selling and diminished concerns about tight supplies, but later recovered to close higher that day.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday reported that private exporters struck deals to sell 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, the world’s top importer of the oilseed. Exporters sold 40,000 tonnes of U.S. soybean oil to unknown destinations.

Separately, the U.S. National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), said processors crushed 153.536 million bushels of soybeans in October, the largely monthly total in nearly three years. The crush was well above the 147.713 million expected by analysts.

"Strong demand is supporting soybean futures, both domestically and globally," said Karl Setzer, grain solutions team leader for MaxYield Cooperative.

January soybeans rose 0.8 per cent to $14.19 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. December corn edged up 0.3 percent to $7.25-3/4 a bushel, and December wheat lost 0.3 percent to $8.48-3/4 a bushel.

Commodity funds bought an estimated 3,000 soybean contracts, 3,000 corn contracts, and sold 1,500 wheat contracts, traders said.

Wheat stumbles

Wheat stumbled, although the U.S. crop has deteriorated due to dry weather.

The USDA on Tuesday said U.S. winter wheat was 36 per cent good to excellent as of Nov. 9, down from 39 per cent a week earlier. A year ago, the crop was rated 50 per cent good to excellent.

Dryness remains a concern across the Farm Belt following the worst U.S. drought in more than half a century, and little rain is expected in the western portion of the U.S. Plains hard red winter wheat region for the next 15 days, according to MDA EarthSat Weather.

"This dry pattern has not broken," said Jason Britt, president of Central States Commodities.

U.S. wheat has become more competitive in the world market as supplies from the Black Sea region have tightened and Australia is set to produce a smaller crop.

However, the United States continues to lose out on business.

A Libyan state grain buying agency in Benghazi purchased 30,000 tonnes of optional-origin milling wheat in a tender that closed on Nov. 6, European traders said on Wednesday. Traders said they suspected it would be sourced in Russia.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s state grain buyer bought 50,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender for 100,000 tonnes, traders said. It was optional origin but believed likely to be sourced from Ukraine.

The United States could face increased competition for exports from Europe next year, with French-based analysts Strategie Grains projecting wheat production in the European Union could see rise by more than 10 per cent to a five-year high in 2013.

— Tom Polansek covers agriculture and the CBOT for Reuters from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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