March 25, 2020 / 1:55 AM / 14 days ago

GRAINS-Corn climbs over 1% on expectations of stronger ethanol demand

SYDNEY, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures rose more than 1% on Wednesday as expectations of stronger demand for ethanol were spurred by higher oil prices, though the global coronavirus pandemic provided a ceiling to gains.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 1.2% at $3.52 a bushel by 0120 GMT, having gained more than 1% in the previous session.

* The most active soybean futures were up 0.5% at $8.92 a bushel, near the session high of $8.93 a bushel - the highest since March 6. Soybeans firmed 0.3% on Tuesday.

* The most active wheat futures were down 0.2% to $5.60-1/4 a bushel, having closed down 0.2% on Tuesday.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop reports showed improving winter wheat ratings in the U.S. Plains, bolstering yield prospects.

* Corn had been under sustained pressure this week after a slump in oil prices depressed demand for ethanol.

* U.S. ethanol producers are on track to shut about 2 billion gallons of annualized output by the end of this week because of a slump in demand for fuel, the head of the Renewable Fuels Association trade group said on Monday.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar halted its decline and gains in riskier currencies petered out as fresh rises in coronavirus cases kept markets on edge and the greenback funding market tight.

* Oil prices extended gains for a third session, rising alongside broader financial markets on hopes Washington will soon approve a massive aid package to stem the economic impact of the pandemic.

* Asian shares extended their rally in the wake of Wall Street’s big gains as U.S. Congress appeared closer to passing a $2 trillion stimulus package to curb the pandemic’s economic toll. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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