Thursday, October 28

Corn futures up 2% on firm cash markets; soybeans post modest gains

Article content

CHICAGO — US corn futures rose about 2% on Monday, rallying from early declines on support from tight domestic cash markets and spillover strength from crude oil futures, analysts said.

Soybean futures climbed as China booked several US cargos of the oilseed but wheat futures ended narrowly mixed.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn settled up 12-3/4 cents at $5.39-1/2 per bushel after reaching $5.40, the contract’s highest since Aug. 31.

CBOT November soybeans ended up 2-1/2 cents at $12.87-1/2 a bushel. CBOT December wheat fell 1-1/2 cents to settle at $7.22-1/4 a bushel.

Article content

Corn rallied despite clear weather in the US Midwest that should promote harvesting. After the CBOT close, the US Department of Agriculture said the US harvest was 18% complete for corn and 16% for soybeans, both slightly ahead of the five-year averages of 15% and 13%, respectively.

Yet with harvest still in the early stages, cash markets remain relatively firm as processors scramble to meet their immediate needs.

“There hasn’t been enough grain in the pipeline to supply the end-user. We are trying to push the market up high enough to attract the farmer,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based US Commodities.

Corn drew additional support as crude oil futures advanced. Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for year-end Brent crude oil prices to $90 per barrel, from $80 previously. Corn sometimes follows trends in the energy market due to its role as the primary US feedstock for ethanol.

Article content

Some traders also cited optimism that China might buy more US grains after an agreement between the United States and China led to Canada releasing Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou last week.

The USDA on Monday confirmed private sales of 334,000 tonnes of US soybeans to China, the world’s largest oilseed buyer, a factor that supported soybean futures.

Meanwhile, US soybean export inspections jumped to a six-month peak last week while corn shipments were the highest in a month as Louisiana Gulf Coast terminals steadily ramped up operations disrupted by Hurricane Ida nearly a month ago, preliminary data showed.

The export pace, however, was still well below normal for this time of year as several terminals remain shuttered or running at reduced capacity.

Traders are looking ahead to the USDA’s Sept. 30 quarterly stocks report. Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expect the government to report US Sept. 1 corn stocks at 1.155 billion bushels, below the 1.187 billion bushels that the USDA projected in its last monthly supply /demand report on Sept. 10. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by David Evans, Toby Chopra and David Gregorio)