pulled off a surprising rally, despite a dearth of supportive news.
The best-traded March contract in Chicago broke decisively
back above the 100-day moving average, suggesting that the seven-week lows of
last week were a bridge too far.
Jim Sullivan, at Leese Trading Group, said "let's not forget
the bean market remains at the intersection of big supplies but also big demand
and that was underscored by yesterday's export inspection".
No weather worries
Still, he downplayed any remaining worries over Brazilian
dryness, or flooding in Argentina.
"As much as supply side bulls would like to see a South American
weather story, there really isn't one," he said.
"This was underscored by Conab's production estimates".
Conab, the Brazilian crop supply agency, forecast national
soybean production at a massive 103.8m tonnes, up from an earlier forecast of
CHS Hedging noted that with rains in South America, "it
seems as though Brazil may be making up any losses seen in Argentina, with
central and southern Brazil's bean crop looking better than average".
March soybean futures settled up 0.8%, at $10.13 ¾ a bushel.
Stronger dollar weighs on wheat
But there was no such support for Chicago wheat futures.
CHS Hedging saw prices under pressure from a "stronger
dollar and profit talking".
March Chicago wheat futures finished down 0.3%, at $4.39 a
March corn futures
settled down 0.7%, at $3.57 ½ a bushel.
Tregg Cronin warned that it was "difficult to get tied up in
price action in front of such a large fundamental release".
Thursday will see a slew of supply and demand data released by
the US Department of Agriculture.
"Both corn and wheat have found themselves trading at the
upper-end of recent trading ranges seemingly waiting for confirmation of
supportive news to breakout, or waiting for confirmation of pressuring news to
trade back into the range," said Mr Cronin.
But spring wheat
futures, in Chicago, strengthened to an 18-month high.
On Monday the US Department of Agriculture announced 120,000
tonne export sale of hard red spring wheat.
Mr Cronin said the sale "got the attention of traders, and
sent most scrambling to determine who was buying panamaxes of spring wheat".
"The most likely culprit would be China as traders whispered
with some thinking another 2-4 panamaxes may have been conducted and could
therefore be announced yet this week," Mr Cronin said.
"It's become clear the last several weeks the US is about
the only source of high quality, high protein wheat in the world and when
importers need it, price is secondary."
"The issue becomes the Minneapolis wheat market being
relatively small compared with Kansas City and Chicago and the area of origin
facing one of the most severe winters in many years."
March spring wheat futures settled up 0.3%, at $5.61 ½ a
Coffee markets gain
Index fund buying helped lift arabica coffee, with robusta
prices tracking higher as well.
Brazilian coffee exporter Terra Forte released its first
crop report for 2017-18, seeing arabica production down 13% year on year, at 38.18m
Currency markets also supported arabica.
"The Brazil real is tending firmer… which with the still
relatively soft nature of the reference prices of the New York market and with
Brazil arabica coffee farmers already well sold for their new crop coffees, is
retarding the negative pressure of price fixation selling pressure out of
Brazil," said I & M Smith.
March arabica coffee settled up 2.4%, at 147.70 a pound.
Terra Forte saw robusta production was seen down 5%, at 9.88m
March robusta coffee futures settled up 1.0%, at $2,162 a
Raw sugar prices also
edged up, getting support from the stronger real, and some tightness in the physical
"The country is seeing tight supplies and high prices right
now," said Jack Scoville, at Price Futures Group.
March raw sugar futures in New York closed up 0.3%, at 20.48
cents a pound.
March white sugar futures settled down 0.3%, at $536.40 a