Soybeans rose the most in a week after a government report showed increased U.S. sales of vegetable oil to China, the world’s largest consumer.
For the second straight day, U.S. exporters reported selling 40,000 metric tons of soybean oil to China for delivery before the end of September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. China halted shipments from Argentina, the world’s biggest supplier, in April as part of a dispute over antidumping measures. China bought 51,621 tons of U.S. soybean oil in 2009.
“China is buying soybean oil from the U.S. to offset lost supplies from Argentina,” said Greg Hunt, a market analyst for Fox Investments in Chicago. “This is a big change in world trade.”
Soybean futures for November delivery jumped 14.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $9.0925 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since June 3. The November contract replaced July futures as the most-active contract on July 9, when the price touched $8.8675, the lowest level since Oct. 6. The November contract rose 1 percent this week, the most since the week ended April 23.
Almost all China’s soybean oil has come from Argentina and Brazil, customs data show. Imports of crude bean-oil from the U.S. have been mostly barred because of a procedural dispute on safety certification. The USDA said last week it may take steps to certify the safety of domestic soybean oil to spur exports to China.
Qingdao Port, the biggest in China’s Shandong province, is congested by ships arriving to unload soybeans, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. As many as nine more ships, each carrying about 60,000 metric tons of soybeans, are scheduled to unload this month, in addition to the two or three that have already been processed, said the person who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. Normally, there would be five, he said.
Prices also rallied on speculation that farmers may not plant as much as expected in parts of the Midwest after rains during the past three weeks delayed fieldwork, said Charlie Sernatinger, a vice president for Fortis Clearing Americas LLC in Chicago. The last dates for planting soybeans without losing a portion of government-subsidized crop-insurance coverage occur next week in some Midwest states, Sernatinger said.
Some fields from Nebraska to Ohio received as much as four times the normal rain in the past two weeks, according to data from the High Plains Regional Climate Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Farmers told the USDA in March they planned to boost planted acreage to a record 78.098 million acres this year.
“The rains just will not stop” in the eastern soybean- growing states, Sernatinger said. “Now analysts are starting to scale back on their earlier calls that the beans would add a half million acres to the March intentions number.”
The soybean crop in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, was valued at $31.8 billion last year, second only to corn at $48.6 billion, government figures show.