Soybean futures rose for the fourth time in five sessions as China increased imports from the U.S., the world’s biggest shipper. Corn headed for the longest slump in eight weeks.
In the week ended Jan. 31, U.S. exporters sold 696,600 tons of soybeans to China for delivery before Aug. 31 and an additional 691,000 tons for the 12 months starting Sept. 1, the Department of Agriculture said today. U.S. sales of soybean meal since Oct. 1 to all destinations are 43 percent ahead of a year earlier, and soybean oil tripled.
“Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans were a surprise,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed-grain analyst for Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We are also selling more soybean meal and oil, and that will increase U.S. processor demand” for the oilseed, he said.
Soybean futures for March delivery gained 0.3 percent to $14.915 a bushel at 11:08 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the oilseed fell as much as 0.6 percent after the Brazilian government raised its forecast for this year’s harvest. On Feb. 4, the price touched $14.98, the highest since Dec. 17.
In Chicago, corn futures for March delivery fell 1.1 percent to $7.145 a bushel. The price dropped for the fifth straight session, the longest slump since Dec. 13. On Feb. 1, the grain reached $7.4625, the highest since Dec. 7.
Corn fell on speculation that the USDA will say tomorrow that U.S. inventories will be larger than forecast last month. A larger crop in Brazil cut U.S. exports and reduced gasoline demand slowed production of grain-based ethanol, Gidel said.
Inventory in the U.S. on Aug. 31 will probably be 616 million bushels, more than the 602 million predicted by government in January, according to the average estimate of 31 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Brazil’s corn output this year will rise 5.3 percent to 76 million metric tons from a year earlier, the government said today.
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