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GRAINS-Corn firms from near two-week low, but demand concerns cap gains


Low Mississippi river level slowing U.S. grain transport


Expectations of extension in Black Sea grain export corridor

(Adds quote in paragraph 3, updates prices)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Chicago corn rose for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday and soybeans edged higher on bargain buying, although concerns over slowing demand for U.S. agriculture products kept a lid on prices.

Wheat futures gained ground, recouping some of last session's losses with expectations of higher Black Sea exports likely to weigh on prices.

"...growing optimism that Ukraine's grain export corridor would be extended well beyond its current period," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "Pricing now means that the market is more sensitive to news that the corridor will not be extended."

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 0.3% to $6.83-1/4 a bushel, as of 323 GMT, while soybeans rose 0.3% to $13.74-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat gained 0.9% at $8.57 a bushel.

Brazil's grain exporters association Anec on Tuesday raised its forecast for the country's soybean and corn exports during October, a time when U.S. shippers typically dominate the market as the bulk of the Midwest crop is harvested.

Despite rapidly advancing U.S. corn and soybean harvest, overseas sales have taken a hit due to low water level in the Mississippi river, a key waterway for commodities.

China's soybean stocks are set to tighten further as delays in shipments from the United States deepen shortages of key animal feed ingredient soymeal, keeping prices at record highs.

Ships carrying up to three million tonnes of U.S. soybeans which were scheduled to arrive this month and in November are likely to get delayed by about 15 to 20 days, two soybean traders told Reuters.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Monday showed the corn harvest was 45% complete by mid-October, slightly below market forecasts but ahead of the five-year average.

The U.S. soybean harvest was 63% complete, above the five-year average of 52%.

In the wheat market, traders are monitoring talks about keeping the United Nations-backed shipping corridor open from Ukraine's Black Sea ports. The lane has allowed exports from the key global grain supplier to pick up despite the war with Russia.

Ukraine's agriculture ministry revised up its forecast of the area to be sown for the 2023 winter wheat harvest to around 4 million hectares from the previous outlook of 3.8 million hectares, ministry data showed on Tuesday.

The ministry said farmers had sown 2.5 million hectares of winter wheat as of Oct. 18, or 61% of the expected area.

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT soybeans, wheat, corn and soymeal futures contracts on Tuesday and net buyers of soyoil contracts, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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