PRINTABLE VERSION   EMAIL TO A FRIEND   RSS FEEDS 19:45 GMT, Friday, 17th Mar 2017, by William Clarke
PM markets: Kansas City wheat futures gain on dry US Plains

Soybean futures resumed their downward trajectory, as there continue to be very few weather worries for the South American crop.

"Heavy rains across Entre Rios in Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil this past week increased wetness concerns a bit for corn and soybeans, but limited showers there through next week should allow wetness to ease," said Mr Keeney.

"Showers are still on tap to build across central and northwestern Brazil which will improve moisture a bit for safrinha corn but will slow soybean harvesting and safrinha corn planting a bit," he said. "No major issues are expected, though."

"Limited showers across most of Argentina will favour corn and soybeans as the crops reach maturity," Mr Keeney said.

Range-bound trade

"The soybean complex continues to reject rallies, but it continues to be squeezed into a narrow range," said Darrell Holaday, at country futures.

"The lack weather concerns is the primary factor that keeps the soybeans and corn markets on the defensive and has really minimized rallies this week," Mr Holaday said.

May soybean futures finished down 0.1%, at 10.00 a bushel.

Corn markets were similarly moribund for most of the session, but uncovered a rash of late buying, which allowed the front-month contract to finish above the 100-day moving average.

May corn futures finished up 0.5%, at $4.67 a bushel.

US Plains dryness still a concern

The long-term weather outlook in the US Plains is staying a touch too dry, threatening wheat in that region.

"Continued drier weather in the central and southern Plains will maintain significant dryness, and moisture will decline in the Pacific Northwest as well," said Don Keeney, at MDA Weather Services.

"Moisture will also decline in the northern Plains and eastern Prairies," Mr Keeney said.

This is supporting hard red winter wheat prices in Kansas City.

May Kansas City wheat futures finished up 0.8%, at $4.53 a bushel.

May Chicago wheat futures finished up 0.1% on the day, after failing to break the 100-day moving average, at $4.36 a bushel.

Cotton futures edge higher

China saw another disappointed uptake at its latest cotton auction, with some 67% of product offered sold.

"Flagging Chinese mill demand for state cotton remains another point of interest for the market," said Tobin Gorey, at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

But it is as yet unclear if that lack of interest indicates slow demand, or the fact that Chinese stocks are of low quality, and therefore less attractive than imports.

May cotton futures finished up 0.2%, at 78.36 cents a bushel.

Sugar shoots down, before bargain buyers step in

Raw sugar saw a roller-coaster session, first plummeting through a band of heavy support around the 18 cent mark, which drove frantic selling.

At one point May sugar futures reached a low of 17.50 cents a pound, down 4.1% on the day at a nine-week low.

But the market trimmed losses, as a surge of bargain buying sent prices bouncing back.

"It seems in the short term it seems we have a dichotomy," said Tom Kujawa, at Sucden Futures.
Mr Kujawa saw fundamental traders trying to push the market higher, while the "paranoia/black box/spec driven" trade tried to push lower.

After all the sound a fury, May raw sugar futures settled right back in their range for the week, down 0.4%, at 18.17 cents a pound.

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