U.S. grains: Chinese buying, crop doubts push soy to two-year high

CBOT corn recoups some losses from previous day

Chicago | Reuters — Increasing Chinese demand lifted U.S. soybean futures to their highest prices in more than two years on Friday, while corn futures rose on concerns about U.S. crop damage from adverse weather.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters sold 318,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and 175,000 tonnes of soymeal to the Philippines, all for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year.

It was the second consecutive day USDA reported that China, the world’s top soybean importer, had booked U.S. cargoes.

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China, which is seeking to combat food security risks, has also been a big buyer of U.S. corn and pork recently.

“It is supporting global prices, at least in the short term,” said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

The most-active soybean futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade settled up two cents up at $9.68 a bushel (all figures US$). The contract earlier touched its highest price since June 2018 at $9.69-1/2, slightly above a previous a two-year high from Thursday.

CBOT corn rose 4-1/4 cents to $3.58 a bushel.

Wheat slid three cents to settle at $5.50-1/4 per bushel at the CBOT. The contract touched its lowest price since Aug. 27, after reaching its highest price since April 1 on Tuesday.

Price movements were limited ahead of the three-day Labour Day weekend. Traders are waiting for USDA on Sept. 11 to issue monthly supply and demand forecasts, after crops have suffered from dryness in the Midwest and an August windstorm in Iowa.

Private analytics firm IHS Markit Agribusiness on Friday lowered its U.S. corn and soybean yield and production estimates from last month.

In Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, consultancy Sovecon raised its forecast for the 2020 wheat crop to 82.6 million tonnes from 81.2 million.

Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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