Soybeans Advance to Two-Week High on South American Crop Concern

Soybeans reached a two-week high in Chicago on concern that planting delays in South America may curb production. Wheat advanced on the worst U.S. winter-crop conditions in at least 27 years.

In Brazil, 74 percent of the soybean crop was planted, against 81 percent a year earlier, researcher Celeres said yesterday. Argentina has sown 37 percent of its soybeans, from 47 percent in 2011, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said Nov. 22. Soybeans surged to a record in September after the worst U.S. drought in half a century parched fields. Brazil, the U.S. and Argentina are forecast to be the three largest growers this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The world is watching the South American corn and soybean crops at the moment,” Michael Creed, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank Ltd., said by phone from Melbourne. “We need a big South American crop to allay concerns about tightness across the grains and oilseeds complex.”

Soybeans for delivery in January rose 0.7 percent to $14.3525 a bushel at 6:55 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The oilseed touched $14.405, the highest level for a most-active contract since Nov. 12. Prices are still down 20 percent from the record $17.89 reached Sept. 4.

Most soybean-growing areas in Brazil will have rain this week, helping ease dry conditions, weather consultant Somar Meteorologia said yesterday. In Argentina, where fields were too wet, another round of storms starting tomorrow night may bring 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain, further delaying planting, Telvent DTN said today.

U.S. Drought

Wheat for delivery in March rose 0.9 percent to $8.7175 a bushel. The grain touched $8.725, the highest price since Nov. 14. In Paris, milling wheat for delivery in January climbed 0.8 percent to 272 euros ($353) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.

In the U.S., winter-wheat conditions were the worst for records dating to 1985, the USDA said yesterday. An estimated 33 percent of the crop was rated good or excellent as of Nov. 25, down from 34 percent last week and 52 percent in 2011.

Ninety-four percent of the U.S. high plains, including all of Kansas, the country’s top winter-wheat grower, experienced drought ranging from “moderate” to “exceptional” as of Nov. 20, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a gauge organized by government and university groups. The region is unlikely to have any rain through Dec. 11, QT Weather said yesterday in a report.

Corn for delivery in March advanced 0.5 percent to $7.55 a bushel in Chicago.

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