Soybeans rose, heading for the first quarterly gain in a year, as surging U.S. export sales signaled steady demand from China, the world’s biggest buyer and consumer. Wheat also gained, while corn fell.
Net-export sales of soybeans more than tripled to 2.82 million metric tons in the week through Sept. 19 from a week earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday. Shipments before Aug. 31 are up 16 percent from a year earlier to 25.697 million tons, a record for the date, as supplies purchased by China jumped 28 percent.
“China is going to continue to buy U.S. soybeans until South America crops are harvested and start moving into the export channel” beginning in March, Brian Grete, the senior market analyst for Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Soybeans have a very strong demand base.”
Soybean futures for delivery in November added 0.2 percent to close at $13.1975 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices gained 0.3 percent since Sept. 20, the seventh advance in eight weeks, and are up 5.4 percent since the end of June.
While the USDA expects this year’s harvest to be 4.4 percent larger than last year, the agency cut its forecast in each of the past two months as drought conditions expanded in parts of the Midwest. Excess rain in April and May prevented some fieldwork, and crop-insurance claims have been filed for 1.69 million acres of unplanted land intended for soybeans, compared with 159,579 acres last year, USDA data show.
Wheat futures for delivery in December rose 0.7 percent to $6.83 a bushel in Chicago, capping 5.7 percent weekly rally. Prices gained 3.8 percent since the end of June, poised to snap three straight quarterly losses.
Corn futures for delivery in December slid 0.6 percent to $4.54 a bushel. Prices are down 11 percent since the end of June, heading for a fourth straight quarterly retreat, which would be the longest slump since 2009. Domestic production will reach a record this year, according to the USDA.