Soybeans Higher As Export Data, Market Bounce Calm Virus Fears
Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session on Tuesday to extend a rebound from a two-month low, supported by U.S. export data and a steadier trend in financial markets after losses sparked by a coronavirus outbreak in China.
Chicago wheat was also up for a second day, pulling away for a near four-week high touched on Monday. Corn gained ground too after easing to a two-week low in the previous session.
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.7% at $8.83-1/2 a bushel by 1300 GMT.
On Monday the contract had slipped to its lowest since Dec. 3 low at $8.69 before closing slightly higher.
Equity and commodity markets were generally firm on Tuesday, as jitters over the economic fallout from the spreading coronavirus in China abated.
The new virus, which has killed hundreds of people in China and led to travel restrictions being imposed within the country and beyond, has raised concern on grain markets about reduced import demand after consumption of soybeans was also dented by a pig fever epidemic.
"Soybeans are up but the market direction really depends on the virus," said a trader at an international company which has soybean processing facilities in China.
The soybean market was boosted by U.S. Department of Agriculture figures on Monday that showed export inspections of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at 1.36 million tonnes, topping a range of trade expectations. The USDA also confirmed private sales of 130,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to Egypt.
Prices of the oilseed could be capped by the arrival of a bumper Brazilian harvest.
Brazil's soybean exports in February may exceed volumes registered in the same month last year, as harvesting gathers pace and shipments are undeterred by the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, Brazil's main customer.
CBOT corn gained 0.9% to $3.82 a bushel, while CBOT wheat was climbed 1.4% to $5.63-1/2 a bushel.
Spot wheat on Paris-based Euronext was also higher, supported by a backdrop of firm export demand.
A relatively slow start to Russia's export campaign amid rising prices in the world's biggest wheat supplier has bolstered demand for European Union wheat.
"People seem pretty confident about the export season," a European trader said. "The question is whether or not Russia is going to become more active."