Soybeans, corn gain as USDA report may cut South America outlook

Soybeans and corn rose for a second straight day on speculation that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will lower its forecast for crops in South America. Wheat fell.

Argentina, the world’s third-largest soybean exporter, may harvest 51.2 million metric tons of the oilseed, less than last month’s estimate of 53 million tons, according to a Bloomberg survey. The USDA will issue its forecast at noon today in Washington. Argentina, which has had dry weather, may harvest 25.7 million tons of corn, less than the 27 million tons projected in February. Brazil’s soybean and corn crops may both be 0.4% less than previously forecast, the survey showed.

“Logistical delays and high moisture content in Brazilian soybeans continue to prevent product from reaching ports,” Christina McGlone-Hahn, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, said in an e-mailed report today. “Argentine soybean development has been quite variable.”

Soybean futures for delivery in May added 0.4% to $14.79 a bushel at 9:10 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, headed for the biggest weekly gain in eight weeks. Volume was 56% less than the average for the past 30 days for that time of day. Corn futures for May delivery climbed 0.3% to $6.9325 a bushel, paring this week’s drop to 2.2%.

Soybean exporters in the U.S., historically the world’s top grower, sold 1.38 million tons in the week to Feb. 28, the most in four weeks, the USDA said yesterday. China, the world’s largest buyer, bought 74% of the weekly total.

China’s soybean imports fell to 2.9 million tons in February, down from 4.78 million in January and 3.83 million a year earlier, according to data from the Beijing-based customs authority.

“Chinese demand continues to drive the soybean market higher,” Brian Grete, the senior market analyst at Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said in a telephone interview.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 0.42% to $6.93 a bushel, poised for a weekly loss of 3.8%.

Bloomberg News

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