February 28, 2013 / 8:57 PM / in 5 years

GRAINS-U.S. soy, corn, wheat rise as export demands spur buying

* S. American delays boost U.S. soybean exports, prices
    * Corn hits 3-wk high but 6th monthly loss out of 7
    * Wheat rebounds, 9 pct mthly drop spurs overseas interest

 (Updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote)
    By Mark Weinraub
    CHICAGO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans futures rose 1.2
percent on Thursday as strong export demand spurred a wave of
technical buying, traders said.
    Soybean prices, which passed through key technical
resistance points at the 30-day, 100-day and 200-day moving
averages, benefited from ongoing concerns about delays in moving
recently harvested crops in South America to overseas buyers.
    "The beat goes on," said Brian Rydlund, market analyst at
CHS Hedging. "Even if you can buy these alleged cheap beans from
down there, you wonder when you are going to get them, if you
ever do."
    Wheat prices also firmed as the benchmark Chicago Board of
Trade contract's decline to an eight-month low earlier this week
has made U.S. soft red winter wheat the cheapest for importers.
    Corn followed wheat and soybeans higher, receiving
additional support from end-of-month short covering. Speculators
have piled shorts onto their corn position throughout February
on expectations of large U.S. plantings this spring.
    "The market has found some support," said Dewey Strickler,
president of AgWatch Market Advisors. "We are just really
greatly oversold in corn."
    Corn futures have risen for four straight days and hit their
highest level in nearly three weeks.
    CBOT March soybeans settled up 16-3/4 cents at
$14.74-1/4 a bushel. CBOT March corn was up 10 cents at
$7.19-1/2 a bushel and CBOT March wheat gained 3-1/2 cents
to $7.07-3/4 a bushel.
    For the month, soybean futures were up 0.5 percent. Corn
futures fell 2.8 percent, their sixth drop in seven months. CBOT
wheat dropped 9.2 percent in February, its biggest drop since
September 2011.
    The U.S. Agriculture Department said weekly export sales of
soybeans were 1.171 million tonnes, including 689,000 tonnes of
old-crop supplies. Analysts were expecting soybean export sales
in a range from 750,000 to 1 million tonnes.
    China was a big buyer of U.S. soybeans, accounting for 70
percent of the weekly sales.
    "The market is realizing that supply is very tight and it is
going to be a big challenge to get soybeans and corn out of
Brazil in time," said Victor Thianpiriya, agriculture strategist
at ANZ in Singapore.
    "Across wheat and corn markets, tight supply is going to
support prices for the first half of the year until South
America comes into the market."
    U.S. wheat has become increasingly competitive and a tender
announced by Saudi Arabia to purchase 110,000 tonnes of soft
wheat and 440,000 tonnes of hard wheat could bring a fresh U.S.
    "Milling wheat market has been strongly supported by
international demand over the past days as U.S. traders sold
milling wheat to China, Japan, Taiwan and Egypt," Arnaud Saulais
of Starsupply Commodity Brokers in Geneva said.
 Prices at 2:38 p.m. CST (2038 GMT)      
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  719.50    10.00   1.4%    3.0%
 CBOT soy                  1474.25    16.75   1.2%    3.9%
 CBOT meal                  434.80     5.50   1.3%    3.4%
 CBOT soyoil                 48.82    -0.45  -0.9%   -0.7%
 CBOT wheat                 707.75     3.50   0.5%   -9.0%
 CBOT rice                 1550.00     2.50   0.2%    4.3%
 EU wheat                   248.25     1.75   0.7%   -0.8%
 US crude                    91.94    -0.82  -0.9%    0.1%
 Dow Jones                  14,110       35   0.3%    7.7%
 Gold                      1577.61   -19.60  -1.2%   -5.8%
 Euro/dollar                1.3063  -0.0075  -0.6%   -1.0%
 Dollar Index              81.9490   0.3470   0.4%    2.7%
 Baltic Freight                757       12   1.6%    8.3%
 In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and
soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel,
rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb. 

 (Additional reporting by Guz Trompiz in Paris and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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