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Grains - Soybean futures rally to 7-week high on Argentina crop woes

By: Investing.com
Posted: 2/4/2013 6:44:00 AM
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Investing.com - U.S. grain futures were higher during European morning hours on Monday, with soybean prices rising to the highest level since early December amid concerns over crop conditions in Argentina.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, soybeans futures for March delivery traded at USD14.8912 a bushel, up 1% on the day.

The March contract rose by as much as 1.1% earlier in the day to hit a session high of USD14.8988 a bushel, the strongest level since December 18.

Soy prices were boosted as market players continued to monitor weather forecasts and crop conditions in Argentina.

Industry weather group DTN said earlier that another extended period of dry weather with hot temperatures was expected to descend across key grain-growing regions in Argentina.

Argentina is a major soybean exporter and competes with the U.S. for business on the global market. Downbeat crop prospects in the South American country could increase demand for U.S. supplies.

Concerns that heavy rain in the next several days could delay soybean harvesting in parts of Brazil also lent support to prices.

Meanwhile, corn futures for March delivery traded at USD7.4038 a bushel, up 0.6% on the day. The March contract held in a tight trading range between USD7.3612 a bushel, the daily low and a session high of USD7.4088 a bushel.

Corn prices tracked gains in soybeans, as investors continue to closely monitor corn crop prospects in South America.

Agricultural meteorologists predicted mostly hot and dry weather in key grain-growing regions across Argentina for the next five days, potentially threatening yields and reducing the quality of the harvest.

Elsewhere, wheat for March delivery traded at USD7.7250 a bushel, up 0.95%. The March contract rose by as much as 1.2% earlier to hit a daily high of USD7.7338 a bushel.

Wheat prices were boosted by a lower estimate of Argentine wheat production and higher prices for corn and soybeans.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate, Argentina's recently completed wheat harvest totaled 10.3 million metric tons of the grain, below the agency's most recent forecast of 11 million tons.

Wheat traders continued to monitor weather forecasts for key parts of Kansas and Texas, where prolonged dryness threatens now-dormant winter wheat crops. Kansas is the largest U.S. wheat grower while Texas is the fourth-largest.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.

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