Argentine weather underpins U.S. corn, soy market; wheat weak
(Updates with closing prices, adds details)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures
firmed on Wednesday, stabilizing near recent highs on persistent
concerns about dry weather in Argentina hurting crops as they
pass through key stages of development, traders said.
Corn's gains were limited as the rally stalled out at
the six-month high hit on Tuesday. Soybeans rose to their
highest since July 28.
"You are going to have a hard time keeping the grains down,"
said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. "These forecasts for
rain keep dissipating as they get closer and they disappoint."
Soymeal futures also rose as the South American
forecast stoked fears that Argentina, the world's largest
shipper of soymeal, will have to crush imported soybeans to meet
their export commitments. Soymeal futures have risen for seven
days in a row, gaining 13.1 percent during the streak.
But wheat futures weakened, with concerns about plentiful
global supplies sparking a round of profit taking despite dry
conditions in key growing areas of the U.S. Plains. Wheat's
run-up to the six-month highs hit on Tuesday has been fuelled
partly by ongoing concerns about the health of the dormant crop.
"It is dry in the United States and that does pose a threat
to production but it looks like the market is unwinding some
positions that were developed in recent days on this threat,"
said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist for National
Chicago Board of Trade March soft red winter wheat futures
settled down 5 cents at $4.55-3/4 a bushel.
Dealers noted there continued to be stiff competition in the
global market, a view reinforced by news that FranceAgriMer had
lowered its forecast of French soft wheat exports outside the EU
in 2017/18 for the fourth month in a row.
The agency has previously attributed the diminished outlook
to competition from the Black Sea region.
CBOT March soybean futures were 5-1/2 cents higher at
$10.17-1/4 a bushel and CBOT March corn was up 1/2 cent at
$3.67-1/4 a bushel.
"Argentine weather remains a fundamental concern. Weather
forecasters expect some rain over the coming week but it may be
too little too late for some Argentine crops," Commonwealth Bank
of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said.
Both corn and soybeans rebounded from weakness during the
overnight trading session.
(Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Nigel Hunt
in London; Editing by Tom Brown and James Dalgleish)
First Published: 2018-02-14 03:51:18
Updated 2018-02-14 22:20:13
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