BY ONOME AMUGE
Soybean futures traded close to their highest levels in three months, supported by a sharp rally in vegetable oil prices, while the latest weather forecasts for key northern growing areas in the U.S turned wet again, threatening to delay planting of the legume.
The most-active soybeans on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) climbed 0.32 percent to $17.32 a bushel, after gaining 2.7 percent the previous day.
Commodity Weather Group, a meteorological consulting and data support organisation, noted that rains would disrupt seeding in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, the states furthest behind schedule due to cool and wet weather throughout the spring.
Analysts posit that reports that China has been slowly easing lockdown restrictions as it moves towards a return to normalcy, could boost demand for the crop in coming months.
Corn futures also firmed amid lower-than-expected weekly export data, while wheat edged higher on tightening supply concerns.
Corn climbed 0.1 percent to $7.65-3/4 a bushel. Wheat was 0.44 percent higher at $11.48-1/4 a bushel.
The US Agriculture Department (USDA) recently reported that weekly export sales of corn totalled 210,000 tonnes, below forecasts that ranged from 350,000 tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes.
Market watchers said the sharp drop in weekly corn exports from the United States is putting pressure on prices.
Malaysian palm oil futures were also buoyed by tight supplies with the market tracking a rally in Dalian palm olein, as prices hit a three-week high at the close of trading activities.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, Russian President and Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister, have held talks on ways to help ease the international food crisis, with the Kremlin insisting this could be achieved only if the West lifts sanctions.