Soybeans hold near three-month high

PARIS/MUMBAI, May 27 (Reuters) – Chicago soybean futures paused near a three-month high on Friday as traders assessed the risk of rain for U.S. plantings ahead of a three-day closure.

Wheat rose slightly, led by Minneapolis spring wheat futures, as rainy forecasts for northern areas of the United States also threatened to hamper spring wheat planting.

Maize strengthened after falling on Thursday under pressure from lower-than-expected weekly export sales and expectations that the coming rains could help maize, most of which has been planted.

Grain markets also continued to weigh the chances of a diplomatic deal to allow shipments from Ukrainian ports, which have been closed since the Russian invasion.

The most active Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean was down 0.1% at $17.24-3/4 a bushel at 11:23 GMT.

“Soybeans are supported by the planting delay in the United States and the sharp rise in vegetable oil prices,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading company.

Soybean planting, which has a later window than corn, was 50% complete on Sunday, according to U.S. government data.

Soybean prices were also supported by a rally in vegetable oils and mineral oil.

Oilseeds like soybeans are partly used to produce vegetable oil which is in turn an input for biodiesel fuel.

CBOT wheat edged up 0.1% to $11.44-3/4 a bushel and corn fell 0.1% to $7.64 a bushel.

Wheat and maize prices have been under pressure after Russian officials said this week that Moscow was willing to allow a sea corridor for Ukrainian food shipments, raising hopes for improved supplies.

But traders have been cautious about any immediate breakthrough as Russia has also called for the lifting of sanctions in parallel, which Ukraine and its Western allies reject.

“Volatility remains high in a market currently dominated by geopolitics,” consultancy Agritel said in a note.

Market participants were adjusting their positions ahead of Monday, when US markets will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday.

Corn prices in Chicago were held back after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a sharp drop in weekly U.S. corn exports on Thursday and after an announcement this week that China would allow corn imports from Brazil.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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