GRAINS-Soy at three-week high on U.S. exports, wet Argentina

Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:14am IST

* Deferred soy contracts up most on rain in Argentina
    * Slow export pace weighs on wheat, corn
    * Dry U.S. Plains limit declines in wheat

 (Updates U.S. market activity to close, adds analyst quote)
    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans rose to a
three-week high on Thursday, bolstered by strong soy product
exports and forecasts for continued wet weather during the
planting season in Argentina.
    Wheat futures were lower for the first time in eight
sessions and corn shed as much as 1 percent, pressured by
disappointing grain exports and by profit-taking following
multi-week highs earlier this week.  
    U.S. export sales of soybeans, corn and wheat were the
smallest in three weeks last week, with each missing trader
expectations, U.S. Agriculture Department data showed on
Thursday.  
    "Most of the crop markets reacted negatively to USDA's
export sales report this morning," analyst Richard Brock of
Milwaukee's Brock and Associates said in a note to clients.     
    However, only three months into the soybean marketing
season, exporters have already sold 75 percent of what the U.S.
Agriculture Department estimated for the entire year.
    Export sales of U.S. soymeal last week were the highest in
two months amid tight supplies in South America while exporters
sold 100,000 tonnes of U.S. soyoil for the second straight week,
the first time that has happened in two years.
    There is little soymeal or soyoil available for export in
South America and rains are expected to delay soy planting in
Argentina, the No. 1 exporter of soymeal and soyoil. 
    "You have an underlying bullish force," said Jason Britt,
president of brokerage Central State Commodities in Kansas City.
"We are not slowing exports, even though today's numbers were a
little lower."
    Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans finished 1-3/4
cents higher at $14.48 per bushel in the third session of gains
out of the last four trading days. 
    Soy futures for delivery in March and May --
when South American farmers will begin harvest their crops --
posted larger gains, with March's premium over January rising to
the biggest in more than two weeks.
    Investment funds bought 2,000 soybean contracts and sold
7,000 corn and 3,000 wheat contracts, sources on the Chicago
trading floor said. 
    Wet weather is a mounting issue in Argentina while overall
satisfactory crop weather continues in Brazil, said Andy Karst,
meteorologist for World Weather Inc.
    "It's still too wet in Argentina and there are a couple more
rounds of rain coming over the next week, so there won't be a
whole lot more planting going on," he said.
    "It looks drier after the first week of December in
Argentina, which will help, and Brazil looks good with frequent
showers so there's not a whole lot of concern in Brazil for
now," Karst said.
    
    U.S. PLAINS STAY DRY    
    CBOT March wheat eased 5-3/4 cents to $8.85-1/2 per
bushel, a decline of 0.7 percent. CBOT March corn shed
5-1/4 cents to $7.58-3/4 per bushel, its first drop in four
sessions.
    Drought conditions in the U.S. hard red winter wheat belt
had spurred the longest rally in wheat futures since July before
prices eased as traders took profits on Thursday.
    Still, dry weather in the U.S. Plains continues to cause
concern about the newly seeded HRW wheat crop, Karst said.
    "There is not a whole lot of rain or snow seen for either
the Plains or the Midwest for the next week to 10 days. Maybe a 
light shower or two in the Midwest, but nothing significant," he
said.
    While the latest U.S. export sales of wheat and corn missed
expectations, declining corn stocks in South America and less
available wheat in the Black Sea region could turn more export
business to the United States in the coming weeks.
    "Corn and wheat sales will gradually increase throughout the
month of December because we think the availability of supplies
elsewhere will shrink," said Terry Reilly, senior commodity
analyst at Futures International.
    
 Prices at 3:21 p.m. CST (2121 GMT)      
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  758.75    -5.25  -0.7%   17.4%
 CBOT soy                  1448.00     1.75   0.1%   20.8%
 CBOT meal                  442.70     2.80   0.6%   43.1%
 CBOT soyoil                 49.77    -0.34  -0.7%   -4.5%
 CBOT wheat                 885.50    -5.75  -0.7%   35.7%
 CBOT rice                 1511.00    -8.00  -0.5%    3.5%
 EU wheat                   273.75    -2.25  -0.8%   35.2%
 
 US crude                    87.79     1.30   1.5%  -11.2%
 Dow Jones                  13,022       37   0.3%    6.6%
 Gold                      1724.39     5.08   0.3%   10.3%
 Euro/dollar                1.2975   0.0024   0.2%    0.2%
 Dollar Index              80.1920  -0.1440  -0.2%    0.0%
 Baltic Freight               1097       -7  -0.6%  -36.9%
 
 (Additional reporting by Sam Nelson and Karl Plume in Chicago;
Editing by Dale Hudson and Bob Burgdorfer)
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