Soybean Futures Rise on Better Corn Planting Conditions

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Soybean futures rose on Monday as traders bet good corn-planting weather would discourage farmers from switching acreage to the oilseed.

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Clear skies over much of the Midwest this weekend allowed farmers to work overtime to catch up on corn seeding, which has recently been delayed by rain. That weighed on corn prices, but analysts said it would likely limit the amount of soybeans farmers that choose to plant instead.

With projected U.S. soybean acreage this year already a record, however, the boon to prices was limited.

"Without a major weather premium here being built in," said Sean Lusk, director of commercial hedging at Walsh Trading, "rallies look to be continually sold."

Data from trade group the National Oilseed Processors Association also showed weaker demand for the American soybeans. NOPA said the U.S. soybean crush in April fell to 139.1 million bushels, down from 153.1 million in March. That was below the lower range of analyst forecasts and last year's April rate of 147.6 million bushels. Soybean oil stocks fell to 1.725 billion pounds from 1.815 billion in March.

Soybean futures for July delivery closed 0.2% higher at $9.65 1/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, easing off highs earlier in the session.

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Traders are looking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop progress report at 4 p.m. ET for confirmation that Corn Belt farmers were able to proceed with fieldwork. Most analyst estimates for corn planted range between 60% and 70%.

Improved weather weighed on corn futures. Friday's CFTC report showed managed funds increasing bets that corn prices would fall by 13% last week to a net short position of 208,642 contracts.

CBOT July corn futures fell 0.9% to $3.67 3/4 a bushel. CBOT July wheat futures dropped 2.2% to $4.23 1/4 a bushel, the lowest close since April 24.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 15, 2017 15:20 ET (19:20 GMT)