Soybean Prices Rise Most in Five Weeks on China Demand

Jan 15, 2014 1:45 pm ET

(Corrects to delete reference to spot sale in second paragraph in story published Jan. 13.)

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans jumped the most in five weeks on signs of higher demand for U.S. supplies from China, the world’s top consumer of the oilseed used in livestock feed. Wheat rose on Egyptian purchases, and corn gained.

U.S. soybeans inspected for export last week rose 45 percent from a year earlier to 59.38 million bushels, with China accounting for 73 percent, the Department of Agriculture said today. Imports from all sources by China, the top hog producer, jumped to a record 7.4 million metric tons last month.

“Chinese demand continues to support higher prices,” Sterling Smith, a futures specialist at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Most people have been looking for a slowdown in Chinese buying of U.S. soybeans and a shift to cheaper Brazilian supplies.”

Soybean futures for March delivery gained 1.2 percent to close at $12.9425 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Dec. 9. Prices fell 8.3 percent in 2013 on forecasts for record harvests in South America beginning this month.

Wheat futures for March delivery climbed 0.8 percent to $5.735 a bushel, the first gain in six sessions. On Jan. 10, the price fell to $5.605, the lowest since July 2010.

On Jan. 11, Egypt bought 55,000 tons of U.S. wheat in a tender. Jordan is seeking to buy 100,000 tons of wheat with global bids on Jan. 15.

“We are seeing U.S. prices now as the cheapest in the world and some business developing,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a report.

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.4 percent to $4.345 a bushel. The grain jumped 5 percent on Jan. 10 after the USDA said domestic production and reserves were smaller than forecast by analysts.

--Editor: Patrick McKiernan