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Evening markets: fund buying lifts soybeans

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Soybeans soared, once the dust left by corn's collapse cleared, gaining nearly 3% as funds bought into the story of tight stocks, which was fuelled by US acreage forecasts.

Initial reaction that Tuesday's US Department of Agriculture crop planting report was bullish for soybeans at last came good.

With corn, which plunged as much as 10.5% following the data, steady on Wednesday, investors could focus on the briefing's smaller-than-expected estimate for soybean plantings

Forecasts of seedling-sapping hot weather, coupled with the long-running theme that stocks are forecast to fall for their lowest since 1977, gave investors other cause to jump aboard.

July soybeans stood 29.75 cents higher at $12.56 a bushel at 16:45 GMT, having touched 12.65 ½ a bushel earlier, with new crop contracts – for once – performing even better. Soybeans for January 2010 were 41.75 cents higher at $10.23 ½ a bushel.

Corn steadies

Corn, meanwhile, hovered narrowly below opening levels, standing 1.75 cents lower at $3.46 a bushel for July delivery.

Still, that is a better performance than investors might have expected following the last session, when corn went limit down. Indeed, the July contract recovered to $3.54 ½ a bushel earlier on Wednesday.

Indeed, wheat was the worst performer, dropping 7.75 cents to $5.03 ½ a bushel for July and down 8.25 cents to $5.32 ½ a bushel for the better-traded September contract.

The grain continues to come under pressure from bumper global stocks and benign weather for the US winter wheat harvest.

Sweet talk

Among soft commodities, sugar was the talk of New York amid reports of a heavy order placed against the July contract, believed to be by Cargill, the US commodities giant.

Traders believe that much of the order, for perhaps 1.3m tonnes, is bound for India, the world's biggest sugar consumer which has suffered a slump in domestic production.

Talk of the return of El Nino, a disruptive weather pattern stemming from Pacific Ocean surface temperatures, has added to concerns over this year's crop.

Nonetheless, New York's July raw sugar contract lost 0.12 cents to 16.77 cents a pound on profit taking, with October off 0.11 cents at `7.74 cents a pound.

London white sugar for August got the benefit of bullish factors, closing up $3 at $460.5 a tonne.

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