Crude Oil Boosts Wheat, Soybean Markets

By Benjamin ParkinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

A rally in crude oil prices helped bolster grain-and-soybean futures on Wednesday.

February-dated crude oil futures rose 2.2% to $61.72 a barrel, hitting the highest point in two-and-a-half years. That added strength to the broader commodity sector, and traders bet that funds and other speculative buyers would show more interest in agricultural markets in 2018.

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Wheat futures for March delivery rose 0.6% to $4.36 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. January soybean contracts rose 0.5% to $9.59 3/4 a bushel while March corn contracts fell 0.1% to $3.53 a bushel.

Analysts said traders otherwise expressed limited appetite for pushing grain-and-oilseed prices in either direction, with little information to trade on.

Weather concerns helped underpin wheat and soybean prices in particular. Some traders are betting that freezing temperatures in the Plains have damaged parts of the winter wheat crop, though the extent of any harm won't be clear for months to come.

Parts of Argentina's crop belt will dry out next week, analysts said, stressing the country's corn and soybean crops before more rain falls later this month. Dry weather in Argentina has helped underpin oilseed prices for much of the 2017-18 growing season.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 03, 2018 16:11 ET (21:11 GMT)