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Soybeans Rise As USDA Ratings, Chinese Demand Lift Crop Prices

September 9, 2020 at 14:54 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are rising midweek after the US government released its latest progress report for American crops. The agricultural commodity found additional support on strong Chinese demand, as well as dry weather hitting important US growing regions. With soybean prices trading in positive territory on the year, investors are waiting to see if the crop can test $10.

November soybean futures advanced $0.0325, or 0.33%, to $9.7625 per bushel at 14:39 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices have rallied more than 10% over the last month, increasing more than 2% year-to-date.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its weekly crop progress report that rates the conditions of American agriculture. The USDA said that 65% of soybeans were rated in good-to-excellent condition, down 1% from the previous week. The market had projected a drop of 2%.

The USDA also rated 61% of the corn crop to be in good-to-excellent condition, down 1% from the previous week. This was in line with what analysts had projected.

In a separate USDA report, Chinese importers booked 664,000 tons of soybeans for delivery in the 2020–2021 marketing season. This was the biggest daily purchase in seven weeks. Beijing is attempting to ramp up its imports of US agricultural goods after buying just $7.274 billion in the first half of 2020. The phase one trade agreement had called for $36.5 billion in annual acquisitions.

Private exporters reported the sale of 101,600 tons of corn for delivery in 2020–2021.

After relying on Brazil for its soybean imports for much of 2020, Chinese buyers are pivoting to the US, potentially taking advantage of a weaker US dollar and ample production levels. The South American country has been unable to meet the full demand of Beijing, although it has been producing record harvests this year.

Meanwhile, dry weather conditions could affect output and conditions, which would further help prices. Both the US and Argentina have been experiencing drought-like conditions in key growing areas.

In other agricultural commodities, October corn futures dipped $0.025, or 0.69%, to $3.5925 per pound. October wheat futures climbed $0.035, or 0.64%, to $5.4775 per bushel. December coffee futures tumbled $0.0195, or 1.48%, to $1.3015 a pound.

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