U.S. soybeans firm as Argentina drought worries persist


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CHICAGO — Chicago soybeans climbed on Monday, underpinned by concern that drought-damaged crops in Argentina could face more dry weather.

Wheat traded near even after climbing earlier in the session on fears a cold snap in U.S. grain belts could lead to crop damage, while potential escalations in the Russia-Ukraine war also underpinned prices.

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Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybeans rose 22-1/2 cents to $15.32 a bushel by 11:29 am local time (1729 GMT), after reaching its highest since January 18.

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Wheat added 5-3/4 cents to $7.55-3/4 a bushel, while corn lifted 1 cent to $6.84 a bushel.

“The beans are keeping a close eye on the weather in Southern Brazil and Argentina, which has been drying out again,” said Jack Scoville, market analyst at The Price Futures Group.

Drought conditions across Argentina continue to erode soybean yields in Argentina, as forecasts again turn dry, despite recent rains that aided crop conditions.

U.S. soybean futures remain capped as


has harvested 5% of its expected 152.9 million tonnes of the oilseed, according to agribusiness consultancy AgRural.

Soybeans also found short-lived support early in the session from optimism that China could increase purchases following the Lunar New Year holiday.

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“I think there was anticipation of China coming through the door, and nothing happened today with exports,” said Dan Smith, senior risk manager at Top Third Ag Marketing.

Weekly export inspections of 1.855 million tonnes of


during the week ended Jan. 26 added support, nearing the high end of

analyst expectations

ranging from 900,000 to 1.9 million tonnes.

A cold snap in the U.S. Midwest gave wheat futures a lift early in the session, though prices fell as forecasts moderated Monday, decreasing the chance of damage to winter wheat crops.

“It seems like this is a milder event than what we went through in December,” said Scoville. “Anytime it gets as cold as it is, there’s going to be some spec buying.”

Wheat was also underpinned by concerns war will cut Ukraine’s harvests, and that Russia’s crop also would fall below expectations.

Corn followed wheat, but was underpinned by the announcement of export sales of 112,000 metric tonnes of corn for delivery to Japan during the 2022/2023 marketing year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Weekly corn export inspections of 527,932 tonnes fell below analyst predictions, while 445,433 tonnes of wheat inspected was near the high end of analysts estimates. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila, editing by Deepa Babington)


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