Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures closed mixed in the trading week ending Jan. 25, with soybeans rising nearly 1 percent as traders hope that the planned U.S.-China trade talks next week would bring good outcome.
The most active contract for March soybeans was up 8.5 cents weekly, or 0.93 percent, to 9.2525 U.S. dollars per bushel. March wheat added 2.25 cents, or 0.43 percent, to 5.2 dollars per bushel. March corn went down 1.5 cents, or 0.39 percent, to 3.8025 dollars per bushel.
China has been the world's top soybean buyer. Any positive development concerning the trade talks between the two sides will boost U.S. soybean prices.
Due to the prolonged federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not updated its exports sales, supply and demand reports since Dec. 22, 2018.
Traders had to learn from other channels for statistics, with eyes on any new development concerning the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks.
CBOT wheat futures firmed on hopes that rising prices in Russia, the world's biggest exporter, would bolster U.S. exports.
Russian on-farm stocks as of Dec. 31 were below expectations, suggesting the USDA's domestic disappearance estimate is too low. Black Sea cash wheat prices also soared to new seasonal highs.
Australia will export very little wheat over the next 12-13 months. And this week's flood of tender activity indicates major importers have been mostly hand-to-mouth in terms of extending supply coverage.
CBOT corn futures ended lower on modest fund liquidation. Funds since the government shutdown have alternated between net buying and selling, leaving their position near unchanged from mid-December.
Fundamentally, weak biofuel margins continue to battle elevated export demand. And until U.S. government data is available, the choppy trend will persist.