Dry South America sends soybeans to five-month highs

02/24/2014 @ 10:44am

Soybeans rose to the highest in more than five months on speculation that hot, dry weather in parts of South America will curb production. Corn and wheat futures fell.

About 55% of the normal amount of rain has fallen in parts of Brazil, the world's biggest soybean exporter, in the past 30 days, according to weather forecaster Gail Martell, owner of Martell Crop Projections in Whitefish Bay, Wis. Rain that fell this past weekend did little to allay fears the dry weather in the past month damaged plants, the agricultural forecaster said.

"Rainfall has increased in Brazil's two main southern soybean states, but worries about yield damage continue," Mr. Martell said in a report to clients. "South Brazil soybeans [reach the critical pod-filling stage] in February, the stage when drought is most damaging to the yield."

Soybean futures for March delivery gained 14 3/4 cents, or 1.1%, to $13.85 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures earlier rose to the highest price for a front-month contract since Sept. 12.

Corn futures declined after the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week forecast U.S. yields this year at 165.3 bushels an acre, the highest ever, and production at just under 14 billion bushels for a second year. That will result in large stockpiles of the grain.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 5 cents, or 1.1%, to $4.48 a bushel on the CBOT.

Wheat futures declined as global production of the grain increases, and on speculation demand for the grain will decline as corn stockpiles rise.

While demand for supplies from the U.S. has been strong, "the fact that global wheat production continues to grow will continue to hover over the market," brokerage INTL FCStone said in a Monday report.

Wheat for March delivery fell 1 3/4 cents, or 0.3%, to $6.08 a bushel in Chicago.

Write to Tony Dreibus at
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February 24, 2014 10:39 ET (15:39 GMT)
DJ Soybeans Rise to Five-Month High on Dry Weather in South America->copyright