Soybean Futures Advance on Argentina Supply Concerns

Soybean futures rose for the first time this week on speculation that Argentine farmers will keep supplies as a hedge against inflation, boosting demand for U.S. livestock feed and cooking oil. Corn climbed, while wheat fell.

Axel Kicillof, Argentina’s economy minister, said today that growers have hoarded 11 million metric tons of soybeans, and a farm group said supplies from the harvest that begins in March will be withheld as protection following the peso’s slump against the dollar. The country is overhauling its currency market to stem a financial crisis.

“The Argentina economic situation could give another boost to sales of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal,” a high-protein animal-feed ingredient, said Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Overseas buyers are going to remain nervous about the availability of Argentina soybeans.”

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.6 percent to close at $12.8475 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price dropped 3 percent in the previous three days. Earlier, the oilseed touched $12.635, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 2.

As of Jan. 16, government data showed that U.S. export sales since the marketing year began Sept. 1 rose 28 percent on increasing demand from China, the world’s top consumer. Argentina is the biggest shipper of livestock feed and cooking oil made from soybeans.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $4.295 a bushel. The price climbed for the fourth straight day, the longest rally in a month.

The grain advanced 1.3 percent this week on speculation that demand for animal feed will increase after cattle and milk futures rose to records and hogs climbed to a six-month high.

Wheat futures for March delivery declined 0.8 percent to $5.6525 a bushel. This week, the price advanced 0.3 percent, snapping a seven-week slump, the longest since October 2008. A freeze in the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains probably will hurt some dormant winter crops, analysts including MDA Weather Services said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Millie Munshi at mmunshi@bloomberg.net

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