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Soybeans jump to 6-month highs on Argentine dryness, U.S. export hopes

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CHICAGO — Chicago soybean futures jumped to six-month highs on Tuesday, supported by continued dryness in major soymeal exporter Argentina.

Corn lifted after U.S. exporters reported a daily sale of 177,500 tonnes of corn for delivery to Japan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

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Wheat traded near even after firming early in the session as farmers tried to assess damage to winter crops across the U.S. Great Plains.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 5-3/4 cents to $14.90-1/4 a bushel by 10:51 a.m. (1651 GMT), after reaching $15.22-3/4, its highest since June 23.

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The most-active CBOT wheat contract eased 1-1/4 cents to $7.74-3/4 a bushel, while corn lifted 5-1/2 cents to $6.71-3/4 a bushel.

Soybean futures climbed after expected rainfall over the weekend in Argentina missed large portions of the parched growing region, analysts said.

“The forecasted weather in Argentina this last weekend was mostly a bust. It’s moving into a dry period now,” said Tom Fritz, commodity broker at EFG Group.

Soybeans also found support as China continues to list lockdown measures, announcing plans to begin issuing visas next week, though rising COVID-19 infections will likely slow any demand increases for soybeans.

Wheat remains underpinned by fears of crop damage from frigid temps, especially in parts of the U.S. Plains that lacked insulating snowcover on dormant winter wheat crops.

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“We didn’t get the snowcover they were hoping for in a lot of areas,” said John Zanker, market analyst at Risk Management Commodities. “This crop was not in good shape when it went into one of the worst winterkill scenarios we’ve seen in quite some time. So my guess is, there was some winterkill.”

All three markets found support from weekly export inspections. Exporters readied 1.75 million tonnes of soybean for export the week ended Dec. 22, near the high end of analyst estimates ranging from 1.2 million to 1.86 million tonnes.

Corn export inspections of 856,606 tonnes were near the high end of trade expectations of 500,000 to 900,000 tonnes, while wheat inspections reached 280,554 tonnes, in line with predictions of 175,000 to 450,000 tonnes. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio)

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