Chicago soybeans climbed to a four-week high on Tuesday as rain forecasts during harvest in Brazil underpinned the market although gains were capped by weak Chinese economic data that stoked worries over demand.
Wheat edged lower, giving up some of last session’s gains as plenty of world supplies as well as Argentina’s sales to the United States weighed on the market. Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybeans added 0.6 percent to $8.84-1/4 a bushel by 0330 GMT, near a session peak of $8.85-1/4 to the highest since Dec. 23. Corn gained 0.7 percent to $3.65-3/4 a bushel, near the session high of $3.66-1/2 a bushel – its strongest since Dec. 23.
Wheat dropped 0.4 percent to $4.72 a bushel, having jumped more than 1 percent on Friday. “The overall supply picture in South America is positive, but you do see a few jitters about weather events and what they can do to crops,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank.
“Brazilian currency has come off quite a bit which has been a real boost for local producers. The outlook is that South America will continue to produce more grains and oilseeds,” Phin added. Heavy rains are forecast in Brazil’s center-west grain belt this week, meteorologists said, helping some newly cultivated areas to recover from last year’s dry weather; but it also concerns farmers who are ready to harvest.
Daily rains are expected till Feb. 2 in the northern part of Brazil’s top soy state Mato Grosso, with 143 millimeters (5.6 inches) likely accumulating in the next 15 days, according to the Thomson Reuters Weather Dashboard. China reported its 2015 economic growth at 6.9 percent, the slowest in quarter of a century, that raised concerns over demand in the world’s biggest soybean importer.
The U.S. soybean crush in December was 157.711 million bushels, roughly in line with analyst expectations but the smallest crush for that month since 2011, according to the U.S. National Oilseed Processors Association. In the wheat market, ample world supplies continued to anchor prices. Sales of Argentine wheat to the United States was cited as key reason that pushed down European prices at the open on Monday. The news was released after European market hours on Friday. U.S. markets were closed for a holiday on Monday.
Argentina has abolished export tax on wheat and corn while lowering the tariff for soybeans in a move aimed at increasing sales.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said last week that speculative investors extended their net short in corn to nearly 240,000 contracts, the second-largest in records going back to 2006.