Corn marches to 3-1/2-week high on China buying, U.S. flood worries
* U.S. flooding stokes fears of corn planting disruption
* Soybeans ease on potential planting shift, trade
* Firm dollar, lower broader commodities markets weigh on
(Updates with wheat turning lower, adds closing prices, adds
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures rose to a
3-1/2-week high on Friday as China booked its largest purchase
of the grain in more than 5 years and as flooding in the western
U.S. Midwest raised concerns over spring planting.
Technical selling and profit-taking later pulled corn from
the highs, although the market closed with a second straight
Soybeans fell for the first time in three sessions on
worries over demand for ample U.S. supplies as Brazilian farmers
are harvesting a bumper crop.
Wheat futures drifted lower in a profit-taking pullback from
earlier 3-1/2 week highs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced corn sales
totaling 300,000 tonnes to China on Friday following weeks of
rumors that Beijing was poised to make a goodwill purchase of
the grain amid ongoing U.S.-China trade talks.
Grains futures were anchored by a broader commodities market
selloff and as a firming U.S. dollar, particularly
against the currencies of rival exporters Brazil and Argentina,
stoked concerns about U.S. export demand.
Flooding in the western U.S. Midwest remained a focus for
grains markets as large swathes of Iowa and Nebraska - two of
the top three corn-producing states - are under water.
"We're fading back going into the weekend. There is probably
some more upside to this market, but we're seeing some
profit-taking today," said Jack Scoville, analyst with the Price
"There are going to be a lot of people looking at planting
beans instead of corn if they can with all this flooding," he
The USDA is due to release its annual planting prospects
report next Friday.
A farmer survey by crop advisory firm Farm Futures on Friday
said U.S. growers will plant 1.9 percent more corn acres this
year and 3.7 percent less soybeans.
Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures settled up 2
cents at $3.78-1/4 a bushel, ending 1.3 percent higher on the
May soybeans were down 6-3/4 cents at $9.03-3/4 a
bushel. The 0.6 percent weekly decline was its third drop in
CBOT May wheat ended down 1/2 cent at $4.66 a bushel
after earlier hitting a 3-1/2 week high of $4.73-3/4. The
contract closed the week up 0.8 percent, its second straight
weekly advance after falling in the previous five weeks.
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham
in Sydney; editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)
First Published: 2019-03-22 03:48:20
Updated 2019-03-22 21:24:00
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