February 4, 2020 / 7:16 PM / 17 days ago

GRAINS-Soybeans, corn firm in technical bounce as virus fears ease

 (Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, dateline;
previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and grain futures
inched higher on Tuesday, supported by broad strength in equity
markets following losses sparked by a coronavirus outbreak in
China, analysts said.
    Worries about harvest delays in Brazil's soybean areas added
support. 
    As of 1:05 p.m. CST (1905 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade March
soybeans were up 3-1/4 cents at $8.80-1/4 per bushel, a
day after falling to $8.68-3/4, the contract's lowest since May.
    CBOT March corn was up 2-1/2 cents at $3.81-1/4 a
bushel. But wheat futures were little changed in choppy trade,
with the CBOT March contract steady at $5.55-1/2.
    Soy and corn futures took cues from Wall Street, where the
Nasdaq hit a record high and the S&P 500 headed
for its best day in six months as fears of a heavy economic
impact from the virus epidemic abated.
    "With pandemic fears abating regarding the coronavirus, the
trade is anticipating more aggressive Chinese buying of U.S. ag
commodities beyond their current purchase program in soybeans,
which could fuel further price strength in CBOT wheat, corn and
soybean futures," Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote
in a client note.
    Others said the strength in CBOT grains was mostly technical
in nature, given a relative scarcity of fresh fundamental news.
Rains in northern Brazil, the world's largest soybean exporter,
were forecast to linger next week, although the pace of harvest
has been near normal so far, the Commodity Weather Group said in
a client note.
    "There is really not a lot of bullish impetus, or thinking
we are going to see a sharply higher market. It's just that wet
conditions in South America are delaying harvest, and that's
enough to give us a small bounce in an oversold market," said
Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions.
    Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone raised its forecast of
Brazil's 2019/20 soybean crop to 124 million tonnes, up 1.9%
from its January forecast.
       
    CBOT prices as of 1:04 p.m. CST (1904 GMT):     
                                  Net     Pct  Volume
                         Last  change  change        
 CBOT wheat     WH0    555.75    0.25     0.1   58917
 CBOT corn      CH0    381.25    2.50     0.7  134948
 CBOT soybeans  SH0    879.50    2.50     0.3   84061
 CBOT soymeal   SMH0   288.20   -1.60    -0.6   48214
 CBOT soyoil    BOH0    30.70    0.41     1.4   80685
    NOTE: CBOT March wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per
pound.    
    

 (Additional reporting by Gustavo Trompiz in Paris and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Aditya Soni and Tom Brown)
  
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