U.S. grains: Wheat, soy, corn climb

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat futures rose about 1.5 per cent Friday on firming cash markets, analysts said, while soybeans and corn firmed ahead of hotly anticipated U.S.-China trade talks at this week’s G20 summit in Argentina.

The G20 meeting is to include head-to-head discussions between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday.

Chicago Board of Trade March wheat settled up eight cents at $5.15-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). CBOT January soybeans ended up 7-1/2 cents at $8.94-3/4 a bushel and March corn rose 4-1/2 cents to $3.77-3/4 a bushel.

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Wheat posted the biggest advance by percentage, buoyed by a lack of deliveries against the CBOT December and K.C. December contracts on first notice day, typically a reflection of firm cash values.

The thinly traded December contracts in both wheat markets surged about four per cent, and the strength spilled over to back months.

“I think we are doing some export business, with the break in the board. And the domestic market is real hot,” said Mike O’Dea, a trader with INTL FCStone.

Premiums for high-protein wheat in the Kansas City cash market firmed by as much as 25 cents a bushel on Thursday, reflecting demand from domestic flour millers.

“All of a sudden, when you didn’t have deliveries, people said ‘Whoa, there is a change in the wheat markets,'” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Co.

Wheat got a boost from short-covering across the grains floor ahead of the G20 meeting.

Commodity funds hold net short positions in CBOT wheat, soybeans and corn, and open interest in futures for all three commodities fell this week as investors exited positions ahead of the Trump-Xi meeting.

“People are just uncertain about the weekend and moving to the sidelines,” Basse said.

Global financial markets will take their lead next week from the outcome of talks between Trump and Xi over dinner on Saturday, aimed at resolving differences that are weighing on global economic growth.

The U.S.-China trade battle has all but halted U.S. soybean sales to China, by far the world’s biggest importer.

Trump said on Friday there were some positive signs.

“We’re working very hard. If we could make a deal that would be good. I think they want to. I think we’d like to. We’ll see,” he said, speaking during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A Chinese foreign ministry official in Buenos Aires said there were signs of increasing consensus ahead of the discussions but that differences remained.

“All I know is, if it was a pay-per-view, we’d all be dialing in,” Basse said.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.


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