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Soybean Tops $14 Again on Tighter Global Supplies, Stronger Foreign Demand

February 23, 2021 at 18:26 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are bucking the downward trend in the broader financial markets, rallying beyond $14 for the first time since the beginning of February. The agricultural commodity is benefiting from tighter supplies amid a slower Brazil harvest and dwindling US stockpiles. With strengthening foreign demand and slumping output and production, could soybean prices target $15 this year?

March soybean futures soared $0.2925, or 2.11%, to $14.1675 per bushel at 17:10 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices have been off to a hot start in 2021, advancing more than 8%. Over the last 12 months, soybean has skyrocketed more than 61%.

The fundamentals are the primary drivers of soybean’s two-session winning streak. Investors are bullish on expectations that US inventories of soybeans and corn will be only slightly higher by the end of the 2021–2022 marketing season. Traders believe that this could be the start of shortages in the following year as soaring demand could imbibe record harvests planted in many major producing markets this spring.

At the same time, there are concerns that Brazil’s soybean harvest is lagging last year’s levels and below the historical five-year average. The South American nation had harvested only 9% of soybean since January, more than half of the 21.4% harvested at the same time a year ago. The historical average is just under 20%.

According to Abiove, the Rio de Janeiro oilseed crushers’ association, Brazil’s ending stocks are projected to be 219,000 tons this year and 419,000 tons for the following year. Brazil is also forecast to harvest 132.6 million tons in 2021, but weather conditions could impact these estimates.

Grain markets have been extra nervous due to China importing vast volumes of US inventories. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) did report that soybean crop ratings were stable, despite the blast of wintry weather that affected more than 100 million Americans.

A rising greenback limited soybean’s rally. The US Dollar Index (DXY), which gauges the greenback against a basket of currencies advanced 0.17% to 90.16, from an opening of 90.02. A stronger buck is typically bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

For the last few weeks, financial analysts have been discussing a “commodities supercycle,” a trend of years-long gains.

In other agricultural markets, March corn futures added $0.04, or 0.73%, to $5.545 per pound. March wheat futures shed $0.05, or 0.75%, to $6.6475 a bushel. March coffee futures tumbled $0.0085, or 0.61%, to $1.3745 a pound.

If you have any questions and comments on commodities today, use the form below to reply.

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