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Strong export sales jolt corn futures higher Thursday

01/16/2014 @ 2:53pm

Corn rose after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said sales to overseas buyers in the week that ended on January 9 topped analyst expectations. Wheat also rose while soybeans declined.

U.S. exporters sold 821,000 metric tons of corn to overseas buyers last week, the highest amount since the seven days through Dec. 19, the government said in a report on Thursday. Analysts had forecast export sales from 200,000 to 600,000 tons.

Egypt bought 265,500 tons from U.S. inventories and Japan bought 248,100 tons, according to the USDA. A separate e-mailed report from the government showed that unknown buyers canceled a purchase of 126,000 tons for delivery in the current marketing year that ends on Aug. 31.

"They came in and bought corn on contract lows, at least for the futures, so it doesn't surprise me" that sales were higher than expected, said Jon Marcus, the president of Lakefront Futures & Options LLC in Chicago. "It's an ideal level if you're a buyer."

Corn futures for March delivery gained 2 1/4 cents, or 0.5%, to $4.28 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Exporters have shipped 12.6 million tons of corn overseas since the marketing year started on Sept. 1, according to the USDA. That's up 81% from the same timeframe a year earlier, government data show.

Wheat gained as investors who were short the market, or bet prices would fall, bought back contracts and closed their positions after the grain on Wednesday closed at a more-than three-year low. The price had fallen on signs of rising global production.

Wheat futures March delivery rose 5 cents, or 0.9%, to $5.72 3/4 a bushel in Chicago.

Soybean futures fell on speculation that farmers who have stockpiles in storage units are selling their oilseeds after the front-month contract gained for eight of the prior nine sessions. Investors shrugged off a USDA announcement on Thursday that China had purchased 465,500 tons of U.S. oilseeds.

Soybean futures for March delivery fell 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $13.15 a bushel on the CBOT.

Write to Tony C. Dreibus at tony.dreibus@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 16, 2014 15:35 ET (20:35 GMT)
DJ Corn Rises as Export Sales Top Analyst Expectations -- Update->copyright

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