Grain, Soybean Futures Inch Higher

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Grain and soybean futures were steady to higher on Friday as harvest difficulties deflected some pressure from other markets.

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Contracts were initially mixed. Sharply lower prices for crude oil and falling commodity indices pressured agricultural markets, as traders exited the sector ahead of the weekend. A higher dollar, meanwhile, made U.S. crops more expensive in the export market.

But grain and soybean futures turned higher on a series of factors that traders bet could help control the surplus of crops going forward.

Rain in the U.S. this week delayed harvest activity, which is already behind the pace of recent years. That slowed the flow of new crops into cash markets, though ample leftover supplies from last year limited the upside.

Dry weather in Brazil, meanwhile, is delaying planting there and helping support soybean prices. The South American country is one of the U.S.'s main competitors in producing and exporting the oilseed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also said that private exporters reported sales of 195,000 metric tons of corn to what it called unknown destinations for delivery in 2017-18. The pace of soybean sales announcements slowed this week in part due to a public holiday in China, analysts said. Some expected them to pick up again next week.

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Corn futures for December delivery rose 0.1% to $3.50 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. November soybean futures rose 0.4% to $9.72 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat futures were also higher as traders bet that relatively low prices for the grain would attract buying interest. CBOT December wheat futures climbed 0.6% to $4.43 1/4 a bushel.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 06, 2017 15:24 ET (19:24 GMT)