CHICAGO — U.S. soymeal futures hit their highest in almost nine years on Monday on speculative buying and uncertainty about crop prospects in Argentina, despite recent rains, analysts said.
Surging soymeal values lifted soybean futures, while corn and wheat rose on worries about the future of Ukraine’s safe shipping channel for grain exports.
Chicago Board of Trade March soymeal settled up $4.60 at $504 per short ton after reaching $508.20, a contract top and the highest on a continuous chart of the most-active soymeal contract since June 2014.
CBOT March soybeans settled up 1/4 cent at $15.42-3/4 per bushel. March corn ended up 4-1/2 cents at $6.85 a bushel and March wheat finished up 6 cents at $7.92 a bushel.
Soymeal rose on what analyst said appeared to be fund-driven buying as the front four contract months pushed to fresh contract highs. Fundamental support stemmed from uncertainty about supplies in drought-hit Argentina, the world’s top exporter of soymeal and soyoil.
Central-eastern Argentina, the country’s farming heartland, received between 5 and 25 millimeters of rainfall on Monday. But given the country’s persistent drought on top of high temperatures last week, the benefits will be short-lived, meteorologists said.
“Everyone celebrates any bit of rain, but everyone knows it doesn’t get them out of the drought,” said German Heinzenknecht, a meteorologist at Applied Climatology Consulting (CCA).
Corn and wheat futures climbed up as concern intensified that fighting in Ukraine could threaten the agreement for the shipping channel for Ukraine’s grain exports, which expires in March.
“We’ve seen no new developments reducing the flow of commodities out of the commodity-rich Black Sea region over the past week, but the escalating war does pose an increase risk of such occurring in the weeks ahead, tempting some fund managers to increase their ownership of grain and oilseeds,” StoneX chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a client note.
A retreat in the dollar added support, making U.S. grains more competitive globally. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg, Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Jan Harvey and Alison Williams)