January 24, 2019 / 4:27 AM / 8 months ago

GRAINS-U.S. wheat hits 5-week high on prospects for higher demand

    * Chicago wheat up for 3rd session on hopes for strong demand
    * Soybeans gain more ground as dry weather curbs Brazilian crop

 (Adds details, quote)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat rose for a third consecutive session on Thursday,
climbing to its highest in five weeks on expectations of higher demand for U.S. supplies as
inventories dwindle top exporter Russia. 
    Soybean futures rose for a second session amid concerns over prolonged dry weather hurting the
crop in Brazil. 
    The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.3 percent at
$5.27-1/2 a bushel, as of 0407 GMT, having risen earlier to $5.28-1/2 a bushel, its highest since
Dec. 19, 2018. 
    Soybeans gained 0.3 percent to $9.17-1/4 a bushel, having firmed 0.6 percent on
Wednesday; while corn climbed 0.1 percent to $3.79-1/4 a bushel, having closed little changed
in the previous session.
    The wheat market is being buoyed by tightening supplies and rising prices in Russia and Ukraine
after brisk early-season shipments by the Black Sea-exporting countries.
    "Russian prices are rising which is making Black Sea wheat less attractive for importers," said
Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank. "This could provide opportunity for
U.S. wheat to make its way into Asia and the Middle East."
    Forecasters have been scaling back estimates for Brazil's soybean harvest due to drought, and
hot weather this week was expected to keep some regions dry.
     The average estimate of Brazil's 2018-19 soybean production in a Reuters poll of analysts was
117.06 million tonnes, down from the average in a November poll of 120.8 million tonnes.

    Looking ahead to U.S. plantings for 2019, private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as
Informa Economics IEG, projected that farmers would plant more corn and less soybeans and wheat
compared to 2018.
    The firm put 2019 soybean plantings at 86.2 million acres, up 1.1 million acres from its
mid-December forecast, but still down nearly 3 million acres from 2018.
    IEG projected U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 91.5 million acres, up from the 89.1 million acres in
2018. The firm put total U.S. wheat seedings for 2019 at 47.163 million acres, compared with the
47.8 million a year earlier.

 Grains prices at 0407 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  527.50  1.50    +0.29%   +1.20%       518.88  69
 CBOT corn   379.25  0.50    +0.13%   +0.07%       379.33  52
 CBOT soy    917.25  2.25    +0.25%   +0.88%       909.52  61
 CBOT rice   10.73   -$0.03  -0.28%   +0.75%       $10.57  70
 WTI crude   52.41   -$0.21  -0.40%   -0.30%       $49.34  
 Euro/dlr    $1.139  $0.001  +0.05%   +0.25%               
 USD/AUD     0.7121  -0.002  -0.28%   -0.01%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 RSI 14, exponential

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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