Exports boost wheat; corn, soybeans split
Wheat futures rose 1.6% to a seven-week high Thursday, buoyed by stronger export demand for the U.S. crop.
Meanwhile, corn gained, while soybeans fell.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said net export sales of wheat totaled about 704,400 metric tons in the week ended Sept. 12, an increase of 30% from the previous week. The figures, which reflect orders for the 2013-14 season, were at the high end of analyst expectations.
Wheat futures also benefited from weakness in the U.S. dollar, which fell against the euro after the Federal Reserve surprised investors Wednesday by saying it will maintain its economic-stimulus program. A weaker greenback tends to benefit agricultural commodities by making U.S. exports less costly for foreign buyers.
Wheat futures also gained from concerns that Argentina's wheat crop will be smaller than analysts had expected due to dry weather, Citigroup Vice President Sterling Smith said in a research note. That could help increase demand for U.S. wheat because Argentina competes with the U.S. in the export market.
U.S. exporters shipped 9.86 million metric tons of wheat from the start of the marketing year on June 1 through Sept. 5, a 34% increase from the same period a year earlier, according to the USDA. Brazil has been a big buyer of the grain, and is forecast to import 1.28 million metric tons from the U.S. in the current marketing year, up from 108,000 tons last year, according to the USDA.
"Wheat exports have been running above trend, and wheat [prices] look to be bottoming out," said Craig Turner, an analyst with futures brokerage Daniels Ag Services in Chicago.
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Corn and wheat futures have fallen sharply this year amid expectations that U.S. farmers will produce a record corn crop. Wheat prices often trade in tandem with corn because the grains are substitutes in animal feed.
Wheat for December delivery rose 10 1/2 cents to settle at $6.57 a bushel Thursday at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest closing price since Aug. 2.
Corn futures drew support from concerns that rainfall in the southern part of the Farm Belt will delay corn harvesting, keeping some supplies out of the market in the short term. CBOT December corn futures gained 3 1/4 cents, or 0.7%, to $4.59 1/2 a bushel.
Soybeans continued to pull back from advances last week, pressured in part by rainfall in the Midwest this week. The precipitation may improve somewhat the prospects of the soybean crop after weeks of hot, dry weather in growing states including Iowa and Illinois, analysts said.
CBOT November soybean futures dropped 8 1/4 cents, or 0.6%, to $13.39 1/2 a bushel.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 19, 2013 15:43 ET (19:43 GMT)
DJ Wheat Prices Rise On Export Sales; Corn Gains, Soybeans Fall -- Update->copyright
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