CIF Gulf Grain-Spot corn bids firm on good demand, soybeans flat

April 17 (Reuters) - Basis bids for corn shipped by barge to
the U.S. Gulf Coast were mixed early on Thursday as nearby
values firmed amid good demand and slow farmer selling, while
deferred bids eased in light trade ahead of the long Easter
holiday weekend, traders said.
    * CIF basis bids for soybeans and hard red winter wheat were
mostly steady. Soft red winter wheat bids were steady in nearby
positions and lower in new-crop months on expectations for ample
supplies, traders said.
    * Barge freight rates held near recent lows amid few
shipping disruptions and sluggish demand for empty vessels as farmer selling of corn and soybeans was light. More active spring field work was expected to keep farmer deliveries to river elevators light in the coming weeks. * Spot barge freight rates on the Mississippi River at St. Louis were at the lowest point since early August. Spot rates on the Illinois and lower Ohio rivers were also near lows last seen before the autumn harvest. * Corn export demand was solid. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday confirmed private sales of 125,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to South Korea for 2013/14 marketing year shipment. * Old-crop soybean demand has slowed seasonally as U.S. supplies thinned and South American beans flooded the world market, but traders have been surprised by a lack of U.S. cancellations given considerably lower prices for South American soy. * Old-crop corn and soybean export sales in the week ended March 10 were within trade expectations while new-crop sales of both commodities were above analyst forecasts, according to USDA data released on Thursday. Japan was the top buyer of corn, while China canceled 168,000 tonnes in old-crop purchases. China and unknown destinations were the biggest new-crop soybean buyers.
* U.S. wheat export sales last week topped trade expectations and featured HRW purchases by Brazil and SRW purchases by Brazil and Egypt. * Basis bids for soybean barges loaded in April were a penny lower at 69 cents a bushel over Chicago Board of Trade May futures after hitting a two-week high the previous day. May bids were unchanged at 70 over. * CIF corn basis bids for barges loaded by the end of this week were up 2 cents at 66 cents over CBOT May futures, and a penny lower for the balance of April and the first half of May at 63 cents over futures. * CIF soft red winter wheat basis bids for loadings in April were steady at 68 cents a bushel over CBOT May futures. June and July bids fell 5 cents to 37 cents over and 35 over July futures. * U.S. grains markets will be closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. To check displays of CIF basis, double-click on following: U.S. CIF Gulf soybeans U.S. CIF Gulf corn U.S. CIF Gulf SRW wheat U.S. CIF Gulf HRW wheat LINKS: * FOB U.S. Gulf Coast Grain * U.S. grain export summary * Brazil soybean export prices * Brazil corn export prices * U.S. barge freight (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Paul Simao)

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