U.S. grains: Corn, soy at two-week highs on weather worries

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures climbed to two-week highs on Monday amid concerns about stressful hot weather in the U.S. and Europe coupled with positioning ahead of a monthly U.S. government crop report, traders said.

Wheat futures also advanced, following the firmer trend. A setback in the U.S. dollar index lent support to grains and other commodities priced in dollars, including crude oil.

At the CBOT, corn for September delivery settled up 17-1/2 cents at $3.90-1/4 per bushel. New-crop November soybeans ended up 31-1/4 cents at $9.94-1/2 a bushel and September wheat rose 15 cents at $5.25-1/2 a bushel.

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“It’s a weather-related rally, both Europe and the U.S. It’s going to get really hot across the southern Plains and the Delta,” said Roy Huckabay at the Linn Group, a Chicago brokerage.

In France, the farm ministry put this year’s grain maize crop at 13.2 million tonnes, down 28 percent from a record 2014 harvest.

Traders were also adjusting positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Aug. 12 monthly supply/demand reports. Analysts expect the USDA to lower its U.S. yield forecasts for soybeans and corn.

After the close, the USDA in its weekly crop progress report rated 70 per cent of the U.S. corn crop as good to excellent, unchanged from a week earlier and above trade expectations for ratings to decline by one percentage point. Soybean ratings were also steady with 63 per cent rated good to excellent.

Additional support in soybeans stemmed from hopes of stronger demand from China contrasting with prevailing concern about the country’s faltering economy.

China, the world’s top soy buyer, is likely to import a record 76 million tonnes of the oilseed in the year ending September, up eight per cent from the previous year, according to the latest estimate from an official think tank.

It imported a record 9.5 million tonnes of soybeans in July, up 17.4 per cent from 8.09 million tonnes in June, customs data showed on Saturday.

“Soybean prices began to rally in Asian (trading) hours after China reported a strong rise in soybean imports to all-time highs in July,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said in a research note.

Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral.

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