November 22, 2017 / 3:43 AM / 9 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat ticks up on short-covering, U.S. crop rating

* Fund buying, concerns over U.S. crop rating support wheat

* Wheat market may have seen the bottom, upside seen limited (Adds details, quotes)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat prices climbed for a second session on Wednesday, with short-covering by investors and a decline in the U.S. winter crop condition underpinning the market.

The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract was up 0.2 percent at $4.42 a bushel by 0325 GMT, corn slipped 0.3 percent to $3.44 a bushel and soybeans eased 0.1 percent to $9.88-1/4 a bushel.

“The wheat market has already made lows but that doesn’t mean prices should rally,” said an India-based agricultural commodities analyst.

“There has been some discussion about dryness in the United States, but it is still too early to impact the crop. If the U.S. weather remains benign there is scope for prices to go down by about 10 cents.”

Wheat drew support from a weekly crop condition report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It rated 52 percent of the winter wheat crop in good-to-excellent condition, down from 54 percent the previous week, despite analyst expectations for no change.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT wheat and soyoil futures contracts on Tuesday and net sellers of corn, soymeal and soybean futures, traders said.

Radioactive pollution in the Ural mountains caused some concerns, although scientists said there were no human or environmental risks.

The meteorological service in Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, said it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains.

That marked the first official Russian data supporting reports that a nuclear incident had taken place in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.

Wet corn is piling up in the U.S. Midwest, boosting premiums for dry grain and raising costs for exporters who already have been undercut in global markets by cheaper Argentine supplies, traders said on Tuesday.

The slowest U.S. corn harvest in three years was beset by rains and cool weather during the past two months that prevented later-planted crops from drying naturally in the fields. Corn supplies going into the harvest were the largest since 1988 and space in on-farm storage and dryers are at a premium. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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