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U.S. grains: Corn hits five-month high

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade corn futures rose to a five-month high on Tuesday, with strong exports and technical buying supporting prices, traders said.

Wheat futures also closed firm, their fourth straight day of gains, while soybeans eased on technical selling, traders said.

CBOT wheat benefited from short-covering as investors unwound bearish bets ahead of the end of the year. The most-actively traded CBOT wheat contract hit its highest in more than two weeks.

Gains in corn were kept in check as the ample supply base was more than able to handle recent demand bumps.

“U.S. corn and soy exports continue to run at breakneck paces, with China slurping up all the beans they can handle and most key corn importers taking advantage of cheap U.S. corn, but domestic supplies of both crops will remain robust even with those fast export paces,” INTL FCStone said in a research note.

CBOT January soybean futures were down three cents at $10.28 a bushel (all figures US$).

Forecasts for rain in Argentina, a key exporter, added to the pressure on soybeans.

CBOT March corn ended 1/2 cent higher at $3.61 a bushel. Corn prices peaked at $3.64-3/4, their highest since July 15.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat was up 1/4 cent at $4.17-1/2 a bushel. Prices have risen 4.1 per cent during the winning streak.

Stiff competition on the wheat market has acted as a damper on wheat’s rally.

“Buyers have plenty of options as there is too much wheat around,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne. “Prices came up a little bit on news of higher demand, but there is no change in the fundamental picture of large supplies. You need a big supply disruption to sustain higher prices.”

Early forecasts have projected another big Russian wheat harvest next year, while a first official reading of soft wheat sowings in France on Tuesday estimated that the area would equal an 80-year high of 5.2 million hectares harvested this year.

The small adjustments on grain markets were encouraged by a cautious mood among investors ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that is widely expected to conclude with a decision to raise interest rates.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.


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