Bloomberg News

Soybean, Corn Futures Climb on Speculation China Will Boost U.S. Purchases

March 02, 2012

Soybeans gained for a 10th straight session, and corn rose on speculation that China, the world’s biggest pork producer, will increase purchases from the U.S. to feed a growing hog herd and slow food inflation.

Pork production in China, the top soybean importer, will climb to 51.6 million metric tons this year, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, as the government increased insurance incentives for farms, a U.S. Department of Agriculture unit said yesterday. The China National Grain & Oils Information Center said on Feb. 29 that soybean reserves fell in recent weeks on increasing demand for animal feed.

“Rising pork production in China probably means more soybean and corn imports from the U.S.,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “These are demand- driven rallies.”

Soybean futures for May delivery gained 0.8 percent to close at $13.33 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest price for a most-active contract since Sept. 21. The 10-session rally is the longest since July 15. The commodity climbed 3.6 percent this week, the third straight gain.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $6.55 a bushel, capping a weekly gain of 1.7 percent. Earlier, the grain fell as much as 1.1 percent. On Feb. 29, the grain touched $6.615, the highest since Jan. 9.

Brazil Soybean Crop

Soybean futures accelerated to session highs in late trading on forecasts for a smaller crop in Brazil, the biggest grower after the U.S., Schultz said. Brazilian farmers will harvest 68.2 million tons this year, down from a Feb. 27 estimate of 70.3 million, after dry weather reduced yields, crop research firm Safras & Mercado said today.

A strike continued for a second day at Argentina’s grain ports after talks to end the work stoppage broke down, the ports chamber said in an e-mailed statement. The country is the second-biggest shipper of corn and animal feed and cooking oils made from soybeans.

“Shrinking crops and shipping delays in South America will improve U.S. export demand,” Schultz said.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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