* Corn posts biggest gain in a month
* Soybeans rise on pre-supply report positioning
* Wheat falls as conditions improve
(Updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, April 9 U.S. corn futures rose 1.7
percent on Tuesday as traders unwound bearish bets on the market
ahead of a key government supply report, traders said.
Soybean futures also rose in pre-report positioning, while
wheat futures were mixed.
Improving crop conditions and profit-taking weighed on the
benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat
contracts, but Kansas City Board of Trade hard red winter wheat
edged higher on concerns about a cold snap damaging the
developing crop in the U.S. Plains.
Corn's gains were their biggest in a month. The market
received additional support from planting delays in the U.S.
Midwest as well as talk of burgeoning demand from China.
"It is just technical rebound after hitting a multi-month
low on Friday," said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst at
Futures International. "You are seeing a little bit of
short-covering from the new shorts that entered the market after
the grain stocks report."
Both corn and soybeans saw front-month contracts gain more
than deferred offerings due to firm cash markets.
"The weather, the planting delay potential and the stronger
cash basis brought in the short-covering," said Mike Zuzolo,
president of Global Commodity Analytics, a farm advisory service
in Lafayette, Indiana.
Investors had their biggest short positions in the
front-month contracts, Zuzolo said.
Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures settled up 10-3/4
cents at $6.44-1/4 a bushel, their second straight day of gains.
Improving ethanol margins also helped boost corn futures,
said Austin Damiani, a broker for Frontier Futures.
CBOT May soybeans were up 17-1/2 cents at $13.95-1/2 a
bushel, while CBOT May wheat shed 3-3/4 cents to $7.08-3/4
a bushel. The wheat contract had risen 7.3 percent in the past
week before Tuesday's drop.
U.S. winter wheat condition ratings improved in the latest
week but hovered at the lowest level for this time of year since
2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress
The USDA said 36 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was
rated in good to excellent condition, up from 34 percent a week
"Wheat prices were being supported by harsh U.S. winter,
which was hurting the wheat crop," said Joyce Liu, an analyst at
Phillip Futures. "With the improvement in wheat crop condition,
I think some of those fears have eased."
Rain, snow and a cold snap this week will add moisture to
drought-stricken soils in the U.S. Plains and Midwest but will
also damage portions of the winter wheat crop and stall corn
plantings, said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA Weather
USDA will release its monthly supply and demand report on
Wednesday at 11 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT)
"Tomorrow's (USDA) report will confirm or deny the
relatively low U.S. stock levels compared to expectations
estimated end-March. Meanwhile, the market is prudent and
operators are avoiding risk," said Alexis Poullain, analyst with
Prices at 1:48 p.m. CDT (1848 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG
CBOT corn 644.25 10.75 1.7% -7.7%
CBOT soy 1395.50 17.50 1.3% -1.6%
CBOT meal 394.80 1.50 0.4% -6.1%
CBOT soyoil 49.98 0.46 0.9% 1.7%
CBOT wheat 708.75 -3.75 -0.5% -8.9%
CBOT rice 1570.50 12.50 0.8% 5.7%
EU wheat 245.00 -0.75 -0.3% -2.1%
In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and
soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel,
rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb.
(Additional reporting by Sam Nelson in Chicago, Sybille de la
Hamaide in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by
Chris Reese and John Wallace)