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Grains - wheat drops 1% on beneficial crop weather, soybeans gain

CommoditiesMay 29, 2012 06:08AM ET
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Investing.com - U.S. grain futures were mixed during European morning trade on Tuesday, with wheat prices down 1% as beneficial rainfall in key grain-growing regions in Russia and Australia eased concerns over a disruption to global supplies.

Elsewhere, soybean and corn prices edged higher on the back of concerns over adverse weather conditions in the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains-region.

Agricultural commodities shrugged off jitters stemming from sustained fears over the health of Spain’s banking sector and the effects rising borrowing costs will have the euro zone’s fourth largest economy.

Instead, market participants have been focusing on weather prospects in recent sessions. Agricultural traders pay close attention to the weather because farmers need favorable conditions to grow large crops to replenish low inventories.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, wheat for July delivery traded at USD6.6975 a bushel during European morning trade, tumbling 1.5%.

It earlier fell by as much as 1.75% to trade at a session low of USD6.6888 a bushel. Prices touched USD7.2138 a bushel on May 21, the highest since September 13, 2011.

Wheat prices declined after weather service provider AccuWeather said that rain was expected to fall in areas of southern Russia in the next 24 to 48 hours, easing fears over recent drought-like conditions to plague the region.

Wheat prices soared nearly 14% in the five sessions leading up to May 21, the biggest weekly gain in 16 years, on the back of concerns over drought-like conditions in Russia.

Furthermore, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said earlier that between 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) and 50 millimeters of rain fell in Australia’s eastern grain-growing regions in the week ended May 28.

Australia is the world’s second-largest wheat shipper and Russia is the fourth-biggest in the 2012-2013 season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Meanwhile, soybeans futures for July delivery traded at USD13.9438 a bushel, gaining 0.87%. It earlier rose by as much as 1.25% to trade at USD14.0113 a bushel, the highest since May 22.

Soy prices touched USD13.5075 a bushel on May 23, the lowest since March 23, as hedge funds and large institutional investors unwound long positions to secure gains from an impressive 19% rally in the first five months of the year.

But soybean futures have since firmed, amid expectations lower prices will entice Chinese buyers to boost their purchases of U.S. supplies.

Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for July delivery traded at USD5.7963 a bushel, edging up 0.25%. It earlier rose by as much as 0.9% to trade at a session high of USD5.8363 a bushel.

Prices have been well-supported below the USD6.00-level, amid speculation lower prices would encourage China to boost purchases of U.S. corn.

China’s state-owned grain-stockpiling agency, Sinograin, said last month that it was ready boost purchases to replenish depleted reserves if the prices are attractive.

China is expected to raise its 2012-13 corn imports to 6 million tonnes, up from the 2011-12 estimates of 5.5 million tonnes.

The U.S. produced 38% of the world's corn last year, making it the both world's largest corn producing nation and the largest exporter of the grain, while China is the world’s largest consumer of the grain.

Grain traders were looking forward to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly planting progress report after Tuesday’s closing bell on the CBOT. The report comes out a day later than usual due to the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at USD66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at USD38.9 billion, government figures show. Wheat was fourth at USD13 billion, behind hay.

Grains - wheat drops 1% on beneficial crop weather, soybeans gain

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