Soybeans post fourth straight annual gain on supply concerns


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CHICAGO, Dec 30 (Reuters) –

Chicago soybeans rose on Friday and posted a sharp yearly rise, amid strong export demand and as drought in major exporter Argentina keeping the focus on supply tensions in the oilseed market.

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Concerns over drought in Argentina, the world’s largest exporter of soyoil and soymeal, and strong export demand drove Chicago Board of Trade soymeal futures to the highest prices since March 31. It also pushed January, March and May soymeal futures to new contract highs on Friday.

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In Argentina, traders were monitoring weather forecasts pointing to high temperatures and light showers in coming days, along with concerns over planting delays.

The Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday that 500,000 hectares of soybeans may go unplanted if further rain prevents the progress of field work.

“It’s a true weather market rally,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.

“Going into next year, weather will still be the big thing,” Roose said. “The question is whether the current La Nina cycle will change into an El Nino cycle so that we can get more normal rains in South America and the U.S., that will allow us to rebuild U.S. and world stocks.”

Investors also continued to assess demand prospects in China, the world’s biggest soybean importer, as the removal of COVID-19 curbs stoked a wave of infections and predictions of an economic rebound next year.

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Wheat also firmed on Friday, amid concerns of winter storm damage to U.S. wheat crops, while corn eased on technical trading.

Over the year, wheat was set to finish near flat. Wheat futures jumped to an all-time high in March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine curbed global supplies.

But an upturn in Black Sea trade in recent months, helped by a shipping corridor from Ukraine and a record Russian harvest, has tempered supply fears caused by Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor.

The Chicago Board of Trade’s most-active corn contract ended down 1 cent, settling at $6.78-1/2 a bushel. It ended the year nearly 14.4% higher, underpinned by war disruption in Ukraine and dryness in Argentina.

CBOT’s soybeans ended the day up 7-1/2 cents to settle at $15.24 a bushel. For the year, soybeans were up nearly 13.8% – a fourth straight annual gain.

And CBOT’s wheat rose 18 cents, settling at $7.92 a bushel – and ending the year up nearly 2.8%. (Reporting by P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by David Evans, Matthew Lewis and Aurora Ellis)


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