US corn gains on export sales; wheat flat

imageCHICAGO: US corn futures firmed on Friday on support from bigger-than-expected US export sales, traders said.

“The exports are pretty important,” said Bill Gentry, broker at Risk Management Commodities in Lafayette, Indiana. “(They show) the corn has got some value at these and lower levels.”

Soybeans dipped, with the market consolidating near three-month lows as the harvest from South American comes on line. Wheat was mostly flat after climbing from overnight lows on bargain buying.

Any signs of strength across the sector were kept in check by ample supplies as well as a firm US dollar, which hit an 11-year high against the euro and threatened to roil overseas demand for US supplies.

Chicago Board of Trade corn for March delivery was up 3 cents at $ 3.87-3/4 a bushel at 10:44 a.m. CST (1644 GMT). CBOT March wheat was 1/2 cent higher at $ 5.34-1/4 a bushel.

Corn was on pace to close unchanged for the week. Wheat was on track for a weekly gain of 0.4 percent, which would snap a streak of four straight losses.

The US Agriculture Department said on Friday morning that weekly export sales of corn were a robust 2.19 million tonnes, topping analysts’ forecasts that ranged from 800,000 to 1 million tonnes. Wheat export sales totalled 564,400 tonnes, which also beat trade expectations.

CBOT March soybeans were down 2-1/4 cents at $ 9.74-1/2 a bushel. Prices have fallen 1.7 percent so far this week.

The strength in the dollar cast a bearish tone across US commodities. The euro fell to fresh 11-year lows against the

dollar on Friday following the European Central Bank’s announcement on Thursday that it would pump a trillion euros into the euro zone economy to revive sagging growth and ward off deflation.

“Currency markets continue to garner most of the excitement this week, as the dollar has definitely had a negative effect on the grains,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

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