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Corn, soybeans close higher

Updated: 02/02/2012 @ 1:38pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (Agriculture.com)--After trading mixed, the CME Group corn and soybean markets finished slightly higher Thursday.

The March corn futures settled 1 cents higher at $6.43. The March soybean contract closed 1 3/4 cents higher at $12.17. The March wheat futures settled 11 1/2 cents lower at $6.62. The March soymeal futures closed $1.10 per short ton higher at $323.40. The March soyoil futures closed $0.10 higher at $51.19. 

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil is $1.94 per barrel lower, the dollar is higher and the Dow Jones Industrials are down 8 points.

For corn, support is coming from world crop concerns, according to Tim Hannagan, PFGBest.com senior grain analyst. "Cash prices being offered at U.S. shipping ports to meet export demand remain 40 to 80 cents over March futures, a sign that crop problems in South America have importers turning to the U.S. to fill needs."

The drought in Mexico has also contributed to a wave of U.S. exports into Asia, Hannagan says.  

On Thursday, the USDA released strong weekly U.S. corn exports. While demand is good, it falls short of great, Hannagan says. "Asian business accounts for 70% of U.S. annual feed grain exports, yet, big U.S. buyer Japan has purchased record Q1 shipments of European corn, while China only nibbles."

Soybean fundamentals, too, are constant, as demand is robust, he says.  China is actively buying in the U.S.  "Right now, the U.S. is the world's sole port-of-origin prior to the Brazilian harvest (which should soon start.)," he says.

On Thursday, wheat started and ended the day lower. The market fell on talk that the trade overbought earlier this week. Weather risks in Europe and Russia keep below freezing temperatures as a winterkill threat on wheat grown in those areas.

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