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GRAINS-Corn, wheat futures surpass one-month highs; soybeans slump
* Technical buying supports grain markets
* Rains expected to slow U.S. corn, soy harvests
* U.S., China adopt more tit-for-tat tariffs in trade row (Adds U.S. trading; changes byline, dateline, previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and wheat futures jumped on Monday to their highest levels in over a month amid technical buying as well as concerns about rain stalling the country's autumn harvests.
Soybean futures slumped as China - the world's top buyer of the oilseed - and the United States imposed fresh tariffs on each other's goods as part of an escalating trade war.
The soybean market is particularly exposed to the dispute because the oilseed is the United States' biggest agricultural export to China. Shipments have nearly dried up since Beijing applied an additional tariff on U.S. beans in July.
The slowdown in exports comes as U.S. farmers are starting to harvest massive corn and soybean crops. Rains hampering the harvest this week could put crops at risk for damage from bad weather, said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker Midwest Market Solutions.
Traders will get an update on how much of the crops were harvested last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data later on Monday.
"Any lack of progress I think will be supportive to the corn market," Hoops said. "Once that crop is ready to be harvested, if you leave it out in the field bad things can happen to it."
Front-month corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) were up 2-1/2 cents at $3.59-3/4 a bushel by 11:35 a.m. CDT (1635 GMT). The market earlier on Monday touched $3.61 a bushel - the highest price for a nearby contract since Aug. 21.
Strong corn exports have helped support prices, traders noted.
The USDA on Monday reported that 1.3 million tonnes of U.S. corn were inspected for export in the week ended Sept. 20, topping analysts' estimates.
Wheat inspections totaled 409,592 tonnes and soybean inspections were at 693,890 tonnes, according to the agency, within analysts' estimates.
"Overall demand has been really good for corn," Hoops added.
CBOT wheat futures were up 4-1/2 cents at $5.26-1/4 a bushel. The contract reached a session high of $5.31-1/4, its highest price since Aug. 23.
Soybeans were down 5 cents at $8.42-1/4 a bushel.
"What's weighing on things is the new Chinese tariffs that went into effect," Hoops said about soybeans. "That uncertainty about future exports is limiting any upside mobility of our soy complex."
China decided not to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington this week, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. A senior White House official said the United States does not yet have a scheduled date to announce another round of talks. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by John Stonestreet and G Crosse)
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