U.S. grains: Soybean futures set two-week high

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures rose for a fifth straight session to their highest in two weeks as Chinese importers on Monday bought at least five bulk cargo shipments of the oilseed from the United States, or about 300,000 tonnes, traders said.

A rally to four-week highs in soyoil futures helped support the gains.

The U.S. soybean sales to China, for shipment in January and February, came after Beijing offered the buyers at least one million tonnes in new waivers from retaliatory tariffs that have slashed shipments of American soy, U.S. exporters said.

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China, the world’s top soybean importer, imposed steep tariffs on U.S. agricultural products last year in retaliation for U.S. duties on Chinese goods during a 17-month trade war that has rattled global markets.

The latest sales lifted hopes for an initial deal to ease the trade dispute and open the door for bigger U.S. soybean exports.

China’s November soybean imports jumped from a year ago as shipments from the United States cleared customs after they were booked during a truce in the Sino-U.S. trade war, customs data showed.

“The market is being helped by China granting further tariff waivers on imports of U.S. soybeans,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The most-active soybean futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.9 per cent to $8.97-1/4 a bushel and touched its highest price since Nov. 22 (all figures US$).

January soyoil futures jumped to their highest price since Nov. 11 and ended up 1.1 per cent at 31.59 cents/lb. at the CBOT.

The market advanced as Malaysian palm oil futures neared a three-year high on fears of a sharp fall in supply. Price movements in the markets affect each other because they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

“There just seems to be a shortage of vegetable oil in the world right now,” said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker Midwest Market Solutions.

Agricultural markets were awaiting further information about global grain supplies and demand from monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop forecasts due on Tuesday.

Few major changes are expected to U.S. inventories, so traders said they would likely focus on USDA’s global production estimates.

Traders will also look for the results of an Egyptian tender for wheat on Tuesday.

CBOT wheat ended down 0.3 per cent at $5.22-3/4 a bushel, while corn slipped 0.2 per cent to $3.75-3/4 a bushel.

Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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