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Evening markets: rumour and fact lift soybeans

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Soybeans led a rally in food commodities on Tuesday, soaring more than 3% on talk of a fresh batch of Chinese buying, helped by word that India is to stop exporting soymeal and some concerns about weather risks.

There was no evidence that either rumour was true. Indeed, India has reportedly quashed talk of curbs on exports of soymeal, major product of soybean processing, a ban which traders believe would direct more foreign demand America's way.

"The Indian government has denied this rumor but that hasn't stopped bullish traders from buying meal today," Vic Lespinasse, Chicago marketwatcher at GrainAnalyst.com, said.

'Lateness a concern'

The one hard fact is that the soybean crop is way behind its seasonal schedule, thanks in the main to late plantings.

Official figures released late on Monday showed only 20% of the US soybean crop reaching the important pod-setting phase, compared with 36% in a normal year.

"The lateness of the crop is a concern," a London analyst told Agrimoney.com.

"Being left in the field later in the year will leave it open to weather risks." Frosts being one.

Chicago soymeal for August stood 2.9% higher at $332.1 a ton at 17:20 GMT, while August beans themselves soared 3.5% to $10.57 a bushel.

Wall Street headwinds

Mr Lespinasse added that the rally "was even more impressive than it appears given the big sell off in crude oil and equity markets as well as the rally in the dollar, all of which normally would pressure on prices".

Some mixed US results, and fears for oil company earnings, send US down 1% or so, while London's FTSE 100 share index fell 1.3% after equalling a record of 11 straight days of gains.

New York crude for September fell in sympathy, shedding 2.3% to $66.80 a barrel.

Tour nerves

However, the pressure did get to other Chicago crops, with September corn, which had traded higher for much of the day, down 1 cent at $3.21 ¾ a bushel.

Wheat lost 1.5 cents to $5.19 a bushel amid some nerves as investors awaited the results of the Wheat Quality Council's tour of hard spring wheat and durum crops in North Dakota.

"The initial reports from the tour indicate yields much above average, which isn't a major surprise, given the very good weather the spring wheat belt has enjoyed lately," Mr Lespinasse said.

The tour ends on July 30.

Hogs wallow

Elsewhere in Chicago, October hogs touched a 20-month low of 52.2 cents a pound for a most-traded contract, on concerns of sliding demand for pork, but plentiful supplies of pigs.

The contract recovered some ground, to 52.90 cents a pound, down 1.85 cents on the day.

Meanwhile, investors continued to lose their taste for juice, as investors continued to take profits from a run which took it from 73.10 cents a pound at the end of June to nearly 105 cents a pound in mid-July.

New York's September contract dipped 1.6% to 94.60 cents a pound.

By Agrimoney.com

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