Corn and soybean futures rose Friday, boosted by stronger-than-expected export sales.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday morning that exporters sold 1.89 million metric tons of corn and 1.53 million tons of soybeans in the week ended Jan. 11. Those were both above the range of pre-report analyst estimates.
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The sales report sparked buying interest among traders concerned about underwhelming exports through much of this crop season, particularly in the soybean market. Analysts cautioned that they weren't enough to end that longer-term trend, however.
"Demand has been sluggish recently, so these numbers were welcomed by the bull crowd," said Karl Setzer, an analyst at MaxYield Cooperative. "To see one big week of sales is not that surprising and not enough to reverse the current market trend," he said, referring to soybeans.
March-dated corn futures rose 0.3% to $3.52 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, while March soybean contracts rose 0.4% to $9.77 1/4 a bushel.
Chart signals suggesting to some traders that prices were headed higher added to the momentum, analysts said.
Wheat futures slid on Friday after export sales for that grain fell below expectations. Exporters sold 190,600 tons of wheat in the week ended Jan. 11, less than the minimum 250,000 estimated by analysts.
CBOT March wheat futures fell 0.6% to $4.22 3/4 a bushel.
Dry weather in Argentina added to buying interest in corn and soybean markets. The Commodity Weather Group said that parts of Argentina's crop belt are likely to dry out going into February, due to limited rainfall. Currently the lack of rainfall was stressing around 10% of the country's corn and soybean crops, the group said.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 19, 2018 16:10 ET (21:10 GMT)