Soybeans Gain as Exports Rise Before USDA Cuts Inventory Outlook

Soybeans advanced, set for the longest weekly winning run since August, on signs demand for U.S. supplies climbed and before a government report that may show the country’s stockpiles dropped to a nine-year low.

The contract for March delivery gained as much 0.5 percent to $14.94 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and was at $14.9175 at 11:42 a.m. Singapore time. Futures are headed for a 1.2 percent gain this week for a fifth straight advance, the best run since the period ended Aug. 31.

Export sales of the 2012-2013 crop more than doubled to 896,166 metric tons in the week to Jan. 31 from a week earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday. A further 771,040 tons were sold for delivery in the next marketing year beginning Sept. 1, the USDA said. The country was the world’s largest grower and exporter of the oilseed last year.

“Investors are reacting to yesterday’s export sales report,” Joyce Liu, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte, said by phone from Singapore today. The “figures exceeded expectations by a wide margin, and that will further drain U.S. supplies.”

Inventories in the U.S. will tumble to 130 million bushels on Aug. 31, before the next U.S. harvest, smaller than the 135 million bushel forecast by the USDA last month, according to the average of 31 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. The USDA will update its estimates at 12 noon in Washington today.

Before yesterday’s data, U.S. export sales were up 27 percent from a year earlier, driven by demand from China. Imports from the biggest buyer rose 3.8 percent to 4.78 million tons in January from a year earlier, the customs agency said in a statement today on its website.

Corn for March delivery was little changed $7.1175 a bushel, trimming this week’s decline to 3.2 percent. That puts soybeans, which competes with corn for acreage, at 2.096 times the price of the grain. If prices close at that level, it will be the highest ratio since Oct. 26. Soybeans have traded at an average of 2.4 times the price of corn in the past decade.

Wheat for March delivery rose 0.3 percent to $7.5825 a bushel, paring the weekly loss to 0.9 percent. Acreage

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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