U.S. grains: Exports support soybeans after U.S. holiday

Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose on Friday to a new four-month high as stronger-than-expected weekly exports and an easing dollar provided support as trading resumed after a holiday closure.

Soybeans remained firm despite a decline in soyoil futures, which gave back some of the huge gains from Wednesday when vegetable oils were boosted by increased U.S. biofuel targets.

Corn and wheat fell as higher than anticipated weekly export sales failed to give impetus to cereals in the face of hefty global supplies.

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Activity was light as Friday marked a shortened session between Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday and the weekend, and traders said the expiry of options on December futures at the close encouraged technical adjustments.

The CBOT January soybean contract settled up 11-3/4 cents at $10.46 per bushel after reaching $10.46-3/4, its highest since July 19 (all figures US$).

December corn finished down 1-1/2 cents at $3.49-1/4 a bushel and December wheat fell 5-3/4 cents at $3.95-3/4.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported weekly U.S. export sales of soybeans at nearly 1.9 million tonnes, above trade expectations ranging from 1.2 million to 1.5 million tonnes.

“Soybean exports were very strong and palm oil was up earlier in Malaysia so some gains were expected in soybeans,” a European-based trader said.

“Crude oil is down though and that is now weighing on vegetable oils.”

Wheat sagged despite U.S. export sales of 712,400 tonnes that topped trade estimates ranging from 350,000 to 550,000 tonnes.

Showers forecast in the week ahead in the U.S. Delta region could ease drought conditions affecting soft red winter wheat, Terry Reilly, analyst with Futures International, said.

But trading in corn and wheat was seen as mostly technical.

“The holiday trade is pretty thin and a lot of people are still very focused on spreads, in particular the December-March corn spread,” Reilly said.

“People are rolling from December to March. They want to get out ahead of the first notice day (on Nov. 30) delivery period, and ahead of options expiration today.”

The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its forecasts for world corn and wheat production in 2016-17 to record highs, projecting this would also push grain stocks to their highest-ever levels.

Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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