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U.S. grains: Soybeans rebound from three-month low, led by soymeal

Wheat sags on poor demand, strong dollar; corn ends lower

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rebounded from a three-month low on Monday, led by export demand for U.S. soymeal, a key source of protein in animal feed rations, traders said.

Wheat and corn closed lower.

At the CBOT, March soybeans settled up 10-3/4 cents at $9.83-1/2 per bushel, rallying after falling to $9.67, the lowest spot price since Oct. 23 (all figures US$).

March wheat settled down 9-1/2 cents at $5.20-1/2 a bushel and March corn fell 2-3/4 cents at $3.84 a bushel.

Soymeal led the strength in the CBOT soy complex, with the lead March contract rising $7.40, or 2.2 per cent, to close at $338.90 per ton.

“There is talk about U.S. meal being competitive at least through March, and there is some business being done,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading in Fowler, Indiana.

Prices for soymeal from Argentina, the world’s top supplier, have risen as poor crush margins have slowed output. The result is that “the U.S. is pretty much the only game in town right now,” Futures International analyst Terry Reilly said.

“We’re looking at the fourth year in a row that economic problems are hampering Argentina’s soymeal exports. They are not crushing as much as they should be,” Reilly said.

CBOT front-month wheat hit the lowest spot price since Nov. 11, pressed by strength in the U.S. dollar that makes U.S. grains less attractive to those holding other currencies. K.C. March hard red winter wheat set a life-of-contract low at $5.53-1/2.

“The biggest thing right now is that any time we see any strength in the dollar, wheat does the opposite,” Gerlach said. Wheat is more sensitive to currency fluctuations than corn and soy because wheat is grown by more global suppliers.

Underscoring poor demand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported weekly export inspections of U.S. wheat at 263,035 tonnes, at the low end of a range of trade expectations for 250,000 to 400,000 tonnes.

Export inspections for soybeans and corn topped trade expectations at 1.5 million tonnes and 887,000 tonnes, respectively.

Corn fell in lacklustre trade, with the spot March contract staying inside of Friday’s trading range.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Mike Hirtzer in Chicago, Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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