Soybeans Gain on Demand for U.S. Crop; Wheat, Corn Rally

Soybean futures rose the most since November on speculation that demand is rising for supplies from the U.S., tightening inventories. Wheat and corn also rallied.

Processors in the U.S. used 141.6 million bushels of soybeans to make animal feed and cooking oil in February, up 3.9 percent from the same month last year, the National Oilseed Processors Association said yesterday. Exporters shipped more than three times as many soybeans in the week ended March 13 than a year earlier, with 55 percent headed for China, the world’s biggest buyer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

“Export demand continues to be strong, and soybean crushing rates remain very active,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness for Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Soybean futures for delivery in May rose 1.9 percent to close at $14.1825 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Nov. 22. The price earlier touched $14.195, the highest since March 11

U.S. shipments of soybeans since Sept. 1 reached 38.9 million metric tons as of March 13, up 22 percent from the same period a year earlier, government data show. Before today, futures fell 4.5 percent since reaching a nine-month closing high of $14.5775 on March 7. Abiove, a soy-processors group in Brazil, cut its forecast for the domestic harvest this year to 86.1 million tons, from 87.6 million estimated in January.

Grain prices rose as dry, cold weather reduced crop conditions in parts of the U.S. Great Plains last week, Grow said. More low temperatures forecast over the next two weeks will delay thawing of Midwest soils and may delay optimal planting for corn and wheat in April, Grow said.

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 2.7 percent to $6.925 a bushel in Chicago, the biggest gain since March 12. Corn futures for May delivery increased 1.5 percent, the most since March 6, to $4.8625 a bushel.

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