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Morning markets: weak Argentine rains lift corn and soybeans

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Happy (Chinese) new year.

It was for bulls in grains, which again made ground in the first trading session of the week, again lifted by Argentine weather which failed over the weekend to deliver quite the rain that was expected, or needed, for dryness-stressed

corn

and

soybean

crops.

"So far, it is clear that less-than-expected rainfall has fallen over Argentina" over the weekend, WxRisk.com said, while cautioning that it was still too early to "determine with certainty whether not the rains underperformed".

Sunday afternoon satellite pictures show "most of Argentina to be quite clear of any sort of cloud activity, which was not supposed to be the case if we go back and look of the models from last Friday and Thursday," the weather service said.

"And after tomorrow, the GFS [weather] model shows all of Argentina staying dry for the next several days."

'Solid exports'

Where it is more likely to rain is in parts of central Brazil, whose crops were earlier planted, and where precipitation has been overly generous, and has been hampering early harvest.

What harvesting there has been has prompted rumour of disappointing soybean yields.

And this at a time when demand has been firm, as noted in US weekly crop export data released on Friday, and which has been prominent in brokers' dispatches.

At Benson Quinn Commodities, for instance, Brian Henry said that "weekly export sales of soybeans, soyoil and soymeal were solid," adding that rumours of further trade were alive too, with traders continuing "to focus on additional cargos of soybean sold to China".

And this when "it appears soybeans for export in Pacific North West ports are trading at roughly a $10.00-a-tonne discount to the Gulf [of Mexico] and $15.00 discount to Brazilian ports".

Prices rise

Meanwhile, external markets offered little to rock the boat, with the

dollar

trading flat, Asian

stockmarkets

(that were open) a touch weaker, but Brent

crude

edging 0.3% higher to reclaim $110 a barrel.

The result was a 1.1% rise in March soybeans, in Chicago, to $12.00 a bushel as of 08:40 GMT. The contract has not for two weeks closed above $12 a bushel.

Corn was not far behind, adding 1.0% to $6.17 ¾ a bushel.

And that helped fellow grain

wheat

add 0.9% to $6.16 ¼ a bushel for March delivery. Wheat itself is not directly exposed to the South American weather concerns, given its earlier harvest.

However, on the demand side, it too saw strong US weekly export data, of 587,000 tonnes.

Chart signals

One factor to note for later trading is the prospect, for grains, of prices bumping against their 50-moving average lines, which tend to provoke resistance to higher prices.

But if they succeed, further gains may be in store, with investors potentially having placed automatic buy orders based on ideas that if the market is strong enough to break through the average, further upward movement is likely.

For both March corn and wheat, the 50-day is at $6.19 a bushel.

For soybeans, 50-day moving average of $11.70 ¾ a bushel "needs to hold" for the oilseed rally to remain alive, Mike Mawdsley at broker Market 1 said.

Exports soar

Cotton

also saw strong exports sales, soaring to 212,000 running bales, old crop and new, from 95,500 bales the previous week, and a figure the US Department of Agriculture itself noted was "up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior four-week average".

China, the top cotton importer, led the charge,

Still, with China now on holiday, cotton investors were more cautious than their grain peers, leaving New York's March contract up a modest 0.2% at 98.78 cents a pound.

Rubber support?

Outside the US, trading in

palm oil

was closed in Kuala Lumpur for the lunar new year festitivies.

However, in Tokyo,

rubber

for June added 0.7% to 308.00 yen a kilogramme, helped by expectations of market support from Thailand, the top exporter of the tyre ingredient.

Thailand's Cabinet will on Tuesday consider plans for a 15bn-baht ($470m) programme to buy rubber.

By Agrimoney.com

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