A jumpy soyabeans market soared on Tuesday after the US government reported strong demand for the versatile oilseeds.
CBOT July soyabeans rose by the daily fluctuation limit of 65 cents, or 6.3 per cent, to $10.91½ a bushel in Chicago, pulling up other agricultural futures as well. The price for nearby soyabean futures was the highest since September 2014.
The move was triggered by new US Department of Agriculture estimates of grain supply and demand for the upcoming growing year. The agency’s closely followed report was the first since dry weather and flooding damaged the soyabean and corn crops under cultivation in South America and restored volatility to grain markets.
The USDA reduced its forecast for Argentina’s soyabean crop by 2.5m tonnes to 56.5m tonnes, contributing to a drop in global production. China, the world’s biggest soyabean consumer, is meanwhile set to import a record 87m tonnes of soyabeans in the coming year, up 4m annually, largely to feed livestock and poultry.
As customers seek beans, they will import more from the US, whose foreign sales exports had been hurt by the strong dollar. The USDA forecast US soyabean exports would rise by 145m bushels to 1.885bn bushels next year. A bushel of soyabeans equals 0.03 of a tonne.
“The USDA essentially said that any problems we’re going to see anywhere in the world will go directly on to the US balance sheet,” said Rich Nelson, strategist at Allendale, a Chicago futures broker.
The report lands in the middle of planting season in the US, usually the world’s biggest grain exporter. About two-thirds of the country’s corn crop and a quarter of the soyabean crop has been sown.
Soyabeans rallied despite an otherwise bearish picture for grain markets. The USDA eyed a record US corn crop of 14.4bn bushels this autumn and said stocks left over before the 2017 harvest could total 2.2bn bushels, the highest since the mid-1980s.
CBOT July corn nevertheless rose by 3.1 per cent to $3.80½ a bushel.
Global wheat supplies will also remain ample, as the USDA expected “large crops . . . in most key competing countries and favourable spring growing conditions”. World wheat stocks might climb another 14.4m tonnes to a record 257.3m tonnes in 2017, the department said.
CBOT July wheat rose 1.3 per cent to $4.62½ a bushel.
“The market is looking at more or less what we expected, maybe a little bit bigger wheat crop, and yet we’re off to the races,” said Bill Lapp of Advanced Economic Solutions, an agribusiness consultancy in Omaha.