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U.S. grains: Bargain hunting, weather concerns support soy, corn gains

(Photo courtesy Water Management Research Unit, ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean and corn futures rallied on Friday on a bargain-buying bounce after declining sharply earlier in the week.

Concerns about hot and dry weather stressing both crops as they head toward key developmental phases added to the strength.

“Traders continue to have concerns about forecasts calling for hot and dry weather expected to show up for the last half of July and into the first half of August,” CHS Hedging said in a note to clients.

Wheat futures also rose, supported by technical buying and short-covering, traders said.

Soybean futures, which declined the most in one week in two years despite Friday’s gains, received additional support from signs of strong export demand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said early on Friday that weekly old-crop export sales of soybeans totaled a bigger-than-expected 637,300 tonnes. New-crop export sales of 585,700 tonnes were in line with market forecasts.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures settled up 33 cents at $10.57-3/4 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT December corn was 14 cents higher at $3.62-1/2 a bushel, and CBOT September soft red winter wheat rose 9-1/2 cents to $4.35 a bushel.

Pockets of the U.S. Midwest remain dry despite recent showers, raising some concerns about crops in localized areas, and forecasts for temperatures to rise during the weekend have caused some to pull back on bearish bets, analysts said.

“If you were short, you want to take profits heading into the weekend,” said Chris Robinson, senior trader and analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing.

For the week, CBOT soybeans fell 7.1 per cent. CBOT wheat, which touched a 10-year low on Tuesday, rose 1.3 per cent.

CBOT corn, fell for a third straight week, dropping 1.1 per cent. Corn had not fallen for three weeks in a row since January.

— 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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