Wheat Gains as Sales to Egypt Signal Global Demand; Corn Rallies

Jan 16, 2014 5:30 pm ET

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures advanced amid signs of rising demand as Egypt, the world’s biggest importer, announced purchases for a third time this month. Corn rose, while soybeans declined.

Egypt said today it bought 295,000 metric tons of wheat from France, the U.S., Russia and the Ukraine, bringing this month’s tender awards to 885,000 tons. Japan bought 105,019 tons of flour-milling grain from the U.S. and Canada, the Asian nation said today. Futures dropped 27 percent in the past 12 months and touched a 41-month-low last week on the outlook for abundant crops.

“The Egypt purchase indicates that U.S. supplies are competitive with other wheat exporters,” Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst for Jefferies Bache LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Prices may be forming a temporary bottom, but there are still ample supplies available around the world that will compete for market share.”

Wheat futures for March delivery advanced 0.9 percent to close at $5.7275 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Jan. 3. The commodity fell to $5.605 on Jan. 10, the lowest since July 2010, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecast for record global production and reserves.

Corn futures for delivery in March rose 0.5 percent to $4.28 a bushel. The grain has tumbled 41 percent in the past 12 months as U.S. production climbed to a record.

Prices gained on speculation that hot, dry weather has already reduced yield potential in Argentina, the fourth-biggest shipper of the grain, McCambridge said. Production may fall to 23 million metric tons, compared with last week’s USDA estimate of 25 million, he said.

Soybean futures for March delivery slumped 0.2 percent to $13.15 a bushel, snapping a five-session rally. Earlier, the oilseed reached $13.305, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 23, on increased demand for U.S. supplies.

U.S. exporters have reported sales of 571,500 metric tons of soybeans to China this week.

--Editors: Joe Richter, Patrick McKiernan