Corn, Soybean Futures Climb on Surprise Stocks Report

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Corn and soybean futures rose after a government report showed a smaller-than-expected build up in quarterly stocks.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that stocks of corn in domestic grain bins on Sept. 1 rose to 2.295 billion bushels, up from 1.737 billion the same time last year. That was the highest in almost 30 years, though below the range of pre-report estimates.

Quarterly soybean stocks, meanwhile, rose to a decade high of 301 million bushels, up from 197 million last year. That, too, was lower than analyst estimates.

The report sparked buying in corn and soybean markets as traders bet that the USDA may have overestimated last year's U.S. crop production. A bumper crop last year exacerbated a global crop glut, though robust demand helped cap the pile up.

"This might be the turning point from here on out," said Brian Grossman, a market strategist at Zaner Group in Chicago, adding that the corn market had likely bottomed. "This is going to give us a reason to make a move."

December corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade rose 1% to $3.56 a bushel after the report. CBOT November soybean futures rose 1.3% to $9.72 1/4 a bushel.

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Wheat futures were under pressure, however, after the USDA put Sept. 1 stocks and domestic production above expectations. Wheat stocks, at 2.253 billion bushels, rose more than expected from the previous quarter, though they were below last year.

In a separate report, the agency estimated that U.S. farmers produced 1.741 billion bushels in their most recent harvest, slightly higher than analysts had forecast.

Spring wheat traders were in for the biggest surprise, analysts said. Farmers harvested 416 million bushels of spring wheat, well above expectations, as the crop appeared to recover from the worst of a drought that hit key growing regions like the Dakotas.

Total wheat production was nevertheless at a 15-year low after farmers planted less of the crop in favor of corn and soybeans.

CBOT December wheat futures fell 1.6% to $4.47 3/4 a bushel. November spring wheat futures at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange fell 3.1% to $6.25 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 29, 2017 14:23 ET (18:23 GMT)