Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) grains futures closed higher over the trading week which ended Jan. 19, with corn and soybean prices surging almost two percent over upbeat export data.
The most active corn contract for March delivery rose 6.25 cents weekly, or 1.80 percent, to 3.525 dollars per bushel. March wheat delivery climbed 2.25 cents weekly, or 0.54 percent, to 4.2275 dollars per bushel. March soybeans rose 16.75 cents weekly, or 1.74 percent, to 9.7725 dollars per bushel.
Soybeans posted gains immediately after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reduced its projection for 2017-18 output in a monthly report. The government pegged U.S. production at 119.52 million metric tons, down from 120.44 million a month earlier.
On Friday, USDA released its weekly export sales report. The latest data for the period of January 5-11 showed that U.S. exporters sold 1.527 million metric tons of soybeans, beating the trade expectations of between 800,000 and 1.35 metric tons. The bullish data sent CBOT soybeans much higher.
Additional support came from Argentine, where disappointing crop conditions and dry weather could lead to less yield of soybeans.
CBOT corn futures also posted gains over the week thanks to better-than-expected export sales, which reached 1.88 million metric tons for the period of January 5-11, beating the trade expectations of between 450,000 and 800,000 metric tons.
Analysts with the AgResource company underlined mounting evidence which suggests Argentine yields will be below trend in 2018, with early Brazilian corn harvest being delayed a few weeks. This leaves US Gulf corn as the world’s cheapest feed grain into April.
CBOT wheat futures had posted losses for three consecutive sessions after the USDA estimated 2018 winter wheat plantings at 32.608 million acres, above analysts’ expectations.
Bargain-buying on Wednesday led to the rally of CBOT wheat prices.
The USDA weekly report released on Friday put U.S. wheat export sales at 190,600 metric tons, below the trade expectations of between 250,000 and 600,000 metric tons, dragging down CBOT wheat prices. But overall, wheat futures managed to settle this week in the positive territory.
Market observers maintain a neutral outlook on wheat, given the fact that Russian cash prices have moved modestly higher recently and drought continues to expand across the U.S. southern plains with La Nina is likely to persist into the spring.
Another factor that should not be ignored is the weakening U.S. dollar, which is making CBOT commodities increasingly competitive in international markets.