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Soybean Cash Premiums Widen as Exports Improve; Corn Steady

May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Cash premiums for soybeans shipped to export terminals near New Orleans climbed relative to futures as the lowest prices since March boosted foreign demand for U.S. inventories. Corn premiums were little changed as farmers boosted sales.

The spot-basis bid, or premium, for soybeans delivered in May was 60 cents above July futures yesterday on the Chicago Board of Trade, up from 58 cents, the midpoint of the range of bids on May 19, government data show. The corn premium was 49 cents above July futures, compared with 49 cents to 50 cents.

“Export demand has improved” with the drop in prices, said Roy Huckabay, the executive vice president for the Linn Group in Chicago. “Farmer selling of corn slowed from last week, but there is no immediate shortage of supplies.”

Soybean futures for July delivery rose 5.5 cents to $9.44 a bushel yesterday on the CBOT, snapping a six-session slump, the longest slide since February 2009. Earlier, futures fell to $9.31, the lowest since March 31.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 2.75 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $3.62 a bushel yesterday in Chicago. On May 19, the commodity touched $3.535, the lowest level for the most-active contract since April 27.

Exporters in the U.S. sold 478,462 metric tons of soybeans during the week ended May 13, double the average from the prior four weeks, the USDA said yesterday. Of the total, 60,000 tons were purchased by China, the world’s biggest importer.

Barge Shipments

In a sign of reduced supplies, barge shipments of soybeans to export terminals in New Orleans fell 22 percent to 114,000 tons in the week ended May 15 compared with 147,000 tons a year earlier, USDA data show.

“Soybean basis remains firm because demand is running ahead of supplies,” Huckabay said. “Soybeans are hard to source right now” as farmers hold remaining supplies from last year’s crop, Huckabay said.

U.S. exporters last week sold 1.354 million tons of corn for delivery before Sept. 1, up 65 percent from the previous week, the USDA data show. Corn shipped by barge to New Orleans rose 7.4 percent to 652,000 tons in the week ended May 15, up from 607,000 tons a year earlier, USDA said yesterday.

“Corn demand is improving,” Huckabay said. “Corn basis remains weak after the increase in farmer sales. Some farmers are still holding 55 to 60 percent of last year’s crop,” which rose 8.4 percent to a record 333 million metric tons, he said.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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