Soybean futures rallied, heading for the biggest weekly gain since January, on signs of improved demand for exports of U.S. animal feed. Wheat and corn also gained.
U.S. exporters sold 227,114 metric tons of soybean meal, an animal feed, in the week ended April 4, the most in six weeks, the government said today in a report. Meal sales since Oct. 1 are 41 percent above the same period a year earlier, while export sales of soybeans since Sept. 1 are 13 percent higher, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Yesterday, the USDA raised its export forecasts for both commodities.
“Sales of soybean meal remain very strong, which will increase processor demand,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed-grain analyst for Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Low prices are driving increased demand.”
Soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.7 percent to close at $14.02 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is up 3 percent gain this week, heading for the biggest weekly gain since Jan. 18. Soybean-meal futures for July delivery advanced 0.3 percent to $392.90 a short ton, after touching a nine-month low of $388.20 before today’s USDA report.
Wheat rose for the first time in three days on speculation that world output will be hurt by cold weather in the U.S. and Europe.
Temperatures fell as low as 19 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 7 Celsius) overnight as far south as Texas, a second straight evening of below freezing temperatures, T-Storm Weather LLC in Chicago said in a report. Temperatures below 25 degrees will damage crops that are beginning to form grain in southern areas of the Great Plains, the private forecaster said. Oklahoma and Texas are the second- and third-biggest U.S. growers of hard, red winter wheat.
In France, Europe’s largest wheat grower, crop development is 19 days behind last year’s pace because of cold weather in March, and the U.K.’s wheat area has declined after excess rain.
Wheat futures for July delivery advanced less than 0.1 percent to close at $7.0325 a bushel.
Corn futures for July delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $6.335 a bushel. Prices gained on speculation that feed demand will rise as wheat supplies are reduced, Gidel said.