Soybeans May Gain on Speculation U.S. Planting Didn’t Increase

Soybeans may rebound from their biggest decline since January on speculation that next week’s U.S. Department of Agriculture planting report will show farmers didn’t increase oilseed planting.

The USDA’s prospective plantings report, scheduled to be released on March 30 in Washington, may show a 11 percent rise in soybean futures this year hasn’t encouraged farmers to increase acres, said Erin FitzPatrick, an analyst at Rabobank International. Growers may increase area seeded with corn, which is little changed since Jan. 1, she said.

“I’m not confident soybeans have bought much acreage from corn in the U.S.,” London-based FitzPatrick said in an e-mail today. “Soybeans will probably be fairly range bound until we get next Friday’s USDA release. Fundamentally there isn’t a lot of downside from here.”

Soybeans for May delivery gained 0.1 percent to $13.465 a bushel by 10:25 a.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price dropped 1.6 percent yesterday, the biggest loss for the most-active contract since Jan. 30.

Corn for May delivery fell 0.2 percent to $6.46 a bushel in Chicago. Futures yesterday declined 2.4 percent, the biggest drop since Jan. 12.

Wheat for May delivery was little changed at $6.415 a bushel after losing 4.4 percent in the previous two days. Milling wheat for May delivery on NYSE Liffe in Paris was unchanged at 208.75 euros ($276.80) a metric ton.

Soybean production in South America may slide to 120.6 million tons from 136.5 million tons last year after crop conditions deteriorated because of hot and dry weather in southern Brazil and northern Argentina, industry researcher Oil World said yesterday.

Short-term investors and speculators “are very much looking for the weather stories in the agricultural market” as drought trims production of oilseeds, grains and sugar in South America, Paul Deane, an agricultural economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., said on a conference call today. “Prices are going to remain very strong.”

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