US wheat, corn and soyabean futures higher
Monday, 20 February 2012 | 00:00
US wheat, corn and soyabean futures advanced ahead of a three-day US holiday weekend on Friday on export demand for all three commodities and optimism about a debt deal for Greece that bolstered risk sentiment.
Wheat posted the biggest gains at the Chicago Board of Trade, rising 2.4 percent and touching a one-week high on short-covering and news of a fresh sale of 120,000 tonnes of US wheat to Egypt.
Concerns that Ukraine will limit wheat exports lent support.
The Ekonomicheskie Izvestia newspaper reported that Ukrainian grain traders have agreed to limit wheat exports to 1.7 million tonnes in February-July following a request from the government, which is concerned about supply to the domestic market.
Ukraine expects to lose a large share of its winter grains this year due to bad weather.
"Anything that solidifies (Ukraine) not being a player in the short run here in the export market is supportive," said Dan Cekander, analyst with Newedge USA in Chicago.
Soyabeans and corn also climbed, with soyabeans hitting a four-month high on Friday on a record-large sale of US soyabeans to China and lingering questions about crop production in South America.
At the CBOT, March soyabeans settled up 9-1/4 cents at $12.67-1/2 per bushel after reaching $12.73-1/4, the highest spot price on the continuous chart since October 14, 2011.
March wheat ended up 15-1/4 cents at $6.44 a bushel and March corn up 5-1/2 cents at $6.41-3/4 a bushel.
US markets will be closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.
Soyabeans rose after the US Department of Agriculture said exporters reported sales of 2.92 million tonnes of US soyabeans to China, the largest single US soyabean sale on record.
The deal was reported two days after a Chinese delegation signed agreements in Iowa to buy millions of tonnes of the oilseed.
All but 173,000 tonnes were intended for delivery in the 2012/13 marketing year that begins September 1, 2012, with the rest for delivery in the current marketing year.
"These are big numbers and it tells you the seriousness of China pricing," said Don Roose, analyst and president of US Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
"That is a big number for a new-crop bean sale." Soyabeans drew additional support from concerns about South American supplies.
Argentina's Agriculture Ministry on Thursday estimated the country's 2011/12 soyabean harvest at 43.5 million to 45 million tonnes, well below USDA's current forecast of 48 million.
"Everybody is bullish again.
The Argentine numbers were below everybody's expectations, the vessel lineup in Brazil is huge and their cash (market) is really strong since there's not much moving," said Paul Haugens, vice president for Newedge USA in Chicago.
CBOT soyabeans rose 3.1 percent for the week, their fourth weekly rise in five weeks.
Wheat was up 2.2 percent for the week and corn ended the week up 1.6 percent.
Along with the soyabean and wheat sales, USDA also confirmed sales of 132,000 tonnes of US corn to South Korea and 20,000 tonnes of US soyaoil to Morocco.
All the grains drew support from hopes of a long-awaited Greek bailout deal.
World stocks hit a 6-1/2 month peak and the euro rallied as optimism that Greece will seal a long-awaited bailout deal next week fuelled risk appetite.
"You've got the equities markets at four-year highs," said Mike Zuzolo with Global Commodity Analytics in Lafayette, Indiana.
"If real demand is coming back and the global economy is healing up, you would think the index funds would want to start buying commodities more aggressively, given where the equities are."
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