Grains mixed in cautious trade ahead of USDA report

A A A - - U.S. grain futures were mixed on Monday, as investors readjusted positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's closely-watched monthly supply and demand report due later in the day.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, corn futures for March delivery fell to USD4.4013 a bushel during U.S. morning hours, before trimming losses to trade at USD4.4163 a bushel, down 0.55%.

CBOT March corn ended Friday's session with a gain of 0.28% to settle at USD4.4420 a bushel.

Analysts expected the USDA to raise its 2013-14 corn export forecast later on Monday to reflect the strong pace of U.S. corn shipments in recent weeks.

CBOT March corn rallied to a three-and-a-half month high of USD4.4720 a bushel on February 6, amid ongoing indications of robust export demand for U.S. supplies.

Meanwhile, soybeans futures for March delivery rallied to USD13.3440 a bushel, just below the highest level since December 24, before slightly paring gains to trade at USD13.3413 a bushel, up 0.2%.

The March soy contract settled 0.43% higher on Friday to end at USD13.3140 a bushel.

Market players expected the USDA to lower its forecast of U.S. 2013-14 soybean ending stocks, reflecting strong export demand.

Soy prices have been well-supported in recent sessions amid speculation adverse weather conditions in Brazil will damage the quality of the crop and reduce global supplies.

Elsewhere on the CBOT, wheat for March delivery shed 0.3% to trade at USD5.7538 a bushel.

The March wheat contract settled 0.56% lower on Friday to end at USD5.7740 a bushel.

Analysts expected the USDA to lower its estimate for U.S. wheat inventories at the end of the current marketing year to 602 million bushels from the 608 million projected last month.

Prices of the grain picked up 3.77% last week amid concerns freezing temperatures in key wheat-growing states in the U.S. will damage the quality of the harvest.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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