GRAINS-Wheat hits about 2-week high on Chinese buying, crop woes

Mon Apr 8, 2013 8:34am IST

* U.S. wheat rises for 2nd session, up 1.1 pct
    * China bought 14-16 cargoes of U.S. wheat-CNGOIC
    * Concerns over U.S. crop, higher demand underpin
    * Soybeans rebound after three sessions of decline

 (Adds details, quotes)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, April 8 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat climbed more
than a percent to its highest in almost two weeks on Monday,
rising for a second consecutive session as Chinese buying and
concerns about the U.S. crop underpinned the market. 
    Soybeans rose, snapping three straight sessions of decline
on delays in South American harvest, while corn recovered from
nine-month lows, tracking strength in wheat and soybeans.
    China bought 14 to 16 cargoes of U.S. wheat on Thursday for
delivery from June to December, an official think tank said on
Monday, confirming market talk which supported prices last week.
    It is the first large purchase of soft red winter wheat so
far this year by China, the world's top wheat consumer, said the
China National Grain and Oils Information Center. 
    In addition to Chinese buying, wheat rose on concerns about
dry conditions in the southern U.S. Plains.
    "China is buying U.S. wheat and soft red winter wheat is
pretty cheap relative to most other origins of wheat," said one
Melbourne-based analyst who was not willing to be named.
    "The crop is looking pretty poor in some parts of the U.S.
as it has been dry and we are worried about the emergence."
    Chicago Board of Trade May wheat rose 1.1 percent to
$7.07 a bushel by 0236 GMT, the highest since March 28. May corn
 added 0.7 percent to $6.33-1/4 a bushel and May soybeans
 gained 0.9 percent to $13.74 a bushel.
    The soybean market received support from worries about rains
in Argentina delaying harvest and delivery of what is estimated
to be a near record crop.
    Strong rains have interrupted soybean harvesting in
Argentina's south and central grains belt, the Buenos Aires
Grains Exchange said in its weekly report on Thursday.
    Soybeans fell to a 10-month low last week, weighed
down by expectations that an outbreak of bird flu in China will
cut feed grain demand. 
    But analysts in Asia said it was too early to get concerned
about feed demand in the world's biggest soybean importer as the
disease appeared to be well contained.
    "The effective slaughter of 20,000 bird it pretty small,"
the analyst said. "Everyone gets concerned seeing the headlines
but it is very well contained."
    China is confident it can control an outbreak of a new
strain of bird flu, a senior Chinese health official said on
Sunday as the World Health Organization said there had now been
21 human cases of the H7N9 flu with six deaths. 
    China has said it is mobilising resources nationwide to
combat the new strain, monitoring hundreds of close contacts of
confirmed cases and culling tens of thousands of birds where
traces of the virus were found.
    Speculators slashed their bullish bet on CBOT corn futures
and options by 70 percent after a U.S. government report showed
that domestic supplies were bigger than expected, according to
regulatory data. 
    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly
Commitments of traders report also showed that the noncommercial
traders, a category that includes hedge funds, dialled back
their long exposure to soybean futures and widened their net
short position in CBOT wheat.

  Prices at  0236 GMT
  Contract        Last    Change  Pct chg  MA 30   RSI 
  CBOT wheat     707.00     8.00  +1.14%   867.98   53
  CBOT corn      633.25     4.25  +0.68%   763.02   20
  CBOT soy      1374.00    12.25  +0.90%  1576.34   35
  CBOT rice      $15.38   -$0.12  -0.77%   $15.48   53
  WTI crude      $92.82    $0.12  +0.13%   $89.08   35
  Currencies                                                
  Euro/dlr       $1.299   $0.070  
  USD/AUD         1.037   -0.018  
  Most active contracts
  Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
  RSI 14, exponential
 
 (Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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