Soybean and corn futures rose from six-month lows on speculation that U.S. reserves fell to the lowest in nine years after the worst drought in seven decades damaged crops.
On Dec. 1, soybean inventories probably fell 16 percent from a year earlier to the lowest since 2003, while corn supplies dropped 15 percent, a Bloomberg News survey showed. The U.S. government will update its estimates on Jan. 11.
“The market is beginning to refocus on tightening U.S. supplies,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness for Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We have had a big selloff, and there is some end-user interest in locking in supplies.”
Soybean futures for March delivery climbed 1.6 percent to close at $13.885 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Dec. 21. On Jan. 4, the commodity touched $13.56, the lowest intraday price since June 20.
On Dec. 31, the oilseed closed at $14.095, down 20 percent from the record settlement of $17.6825 on Sept. 4. That signaled the start of a bear market.
Soybeans inspected for export rose 21 percent to 39.652 million bushels in the week ended Jan. 3 from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today.
Corn futures for March delivery gained 0.8 percent to $6.855 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $6.78, the lowest since July 3.
The price reached an intraday record of $8.49 on Aug. 10 after drought cut U.S. production to a six-year low.
Export demand for U.S. grain may increase after five consecutive weeks of declines, Grow said. U.S. exporters sold 102,200 metric tons to unknown destinations, the USDA said today.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government data show.