By Karl Plume
(Reuters) – In the northern U.S. Plains, where there are no commercially navigable rivers, the U.S. rail system long has served as the lone, dependable way for farms to move grain hundreds of miles to reach ports and sell around the world.
Not any more. Farmers in North and South Dakota, Montana and Minnesota are holding the largest grain stocks in years after months of worsening delays that crippled the backbone of the U.S. farm transportation system. Rail operators blame the snarled service on the coldest winter in decades and changing freight flows.
CHICAGO, May 8 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures rebounded
from three days of losses on Thursday and rose more than 1
percent in a technical and short-covering bounce as investors
squared positions ahead of a monthly crop report scheduled for
release on Friday.
Wheat futures retreated on profit-taking after hitting a
13-month high earlier in the week and as beneficial rains moved
across the U.S. wheat belt, while corn prices churned near
Attention was turning to Friday’s monthly U.S. Department of
Agriculture crop production and supply and demand reports, which
will include the government’s first winter-wheat production
forecasts of the season and might show a further tightening of
U.S. soybean stocks.
“A lot of the action today in beans is just shorts getting
out of the market ahead of Friday’s report,” said Rich Nelson,
chief strategist with Allendale Inc.
Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans jumped 18 cents,
or 1.2 percent, to $14.64-1/4 per bushel by 10:23 a.m. CDT (1523
GMT) after hitting a one-month low the previous day. The
contract tested technical support around $14.40 earlier this
week but was unable to break that level.
Persistent global demand for soybeans also underpinned the
U.S. soybean export demand has slowed seasonally as more
South American new-crop beans are available, but there have so
far been few cancellations of U.S. sales despite very tight
Meanwhile, Chinese customs data on Thursday revealed that
soybean imports in April were a larger-than-expected 6.5 million
tonnes, although analysts noted that shipments to the world’s
top importer should begin to slow.
“All the cargoes that Chinese importers booked aggressively
in the past months are arriving now, which is supporting prices,
but this is also creating a glut of beans,” said Vanessa Tan,
investment analyst at Phillip Futures.
“Going forward, let’s say from June onwards, imports should
start declining as importers are slowing down.”
Chicago wheat prices eased on improved weather in key U.S.
winter wheat areas and as traders exited long positions ahead of
Friday’s USDA report.
“The specs are big-time longs in the wheat market, so it’s
understandable ahead of first crop-size report of the season in
winter wheat, and after the (price) run we have had, it’s
understandable to get a consolidation, a bit of profit-taking,”
said Tom Fritz, a partner at EFG Group in Chicago.
Investors continue to monitor political tensions in Ukraine,
which helped propel prices to the highest in more than a year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Wednesday on
pro-Moscow separatists in Ukraine to postpone a vote on
secession just five days before it was to be held, potentially
pulling Ukraine back from the brink of violent dismemberment.
Pro-Russian separatists on Thursday, however, defied Putin
and voted in favour of holding a referendum on independence.
CBOT July wheat fell 7 cents, or 1 percent, to
$7.30-3/4 per bushel in its steepest drop in a week. July corn
was 1/4 cent lower at $5.13-3/4 a bushel.
CHICAGO, April 24 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat futures jumped more
than 2 percent on Thursday on concerns about dry conditions in
the U.S. Plains winter wheat belt and some key production areas
of western Europe as well as worries about tensions in eastern
Soybeans were narrowly mixed amid uncertainty over demand
from top importer China. Employees of a trading unit of Marubeni
Corp in China have been detained over allegations of
tax evasion on soybean imports.
CHICAGO, April 22 (Reuters) – Two Brazilian soybean cargoes
initially sold to China have been switched to the United States,
according to port and shipping data updated on Tuesday, the
first clear evidence that the U.S. is absorbing some of China’s
excess Brazilian purchases that were at risk of default.
The cargoes, sold by Japan’s Marubeni Corp,
contained a total of 126,000 tonnes of the oilseed and are
scheduled to reach the United States next month.
April 10 (Reuters) – The American Farm Bureau Federation
(AFBF) said on Thursday it had more work to do to find consensus
on a set of standards aimed at protecting farm data privacy,
after meeting in Kansas City with a dozen leading U.S.
agricultural industry players.
At stake is who will spearhead the drive toward a common
standard for data produced on farms as the industry aims to turn
information into profit and productivity, projected to be a
multi-billion dollar industry in the coming years.
MOLINE, Illinois (Reuters) – Steps away from a replica of the revolutionary 1837 steel plow at tractor company John Deere’s (DE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) headquarters sits a combine as big as a tank and packed with computer wizardry that harvests huge volumes of valuable data as it gathers crops.
The original “plow that broke the plains” enabled American farms to grow massive swathes of wheat and corn with its lightness and durability. The modern machines are using data to take another giant step in efficiency and output.
CHICAGO, April 8 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange
lean hog futures tumbled on Tuesday on slowing demand for pork,
in a session disrupted by technical problems that halted trading
on the exchange’s Globex electronic platform near the close.
Before Globex was restored nearly an hour later, brokers
were forced to execute orders in the exchange’s open-outcry
trading pits, a venue that has lost nearly all of its trading
volume to computer screens in recent years.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Edward Snowden and reporter Glenn Greenwald, who brought to light the whistleblower’s leaks about mass U.S. government surveillance last year, appeared together via video link from opposite ends of the earth on Saturday for what was believed to be the first time since Snowden sought asylum in Russia.
A sympathetic crowd of nearly 1,000 packed a downtown Chicago hotel ballroom at Amnesty International USA’s annual human rights meeting and gave Greenwald, who dialed in from Brazil, a raucous welcome before Snowden was patched in 15 minutes later to a standing ovation.
CHICAGO, April 5 (Reuters) – Edward Snowden and reporter
Glenn Greenwald, who brought to light the whistleblower’s leaks
about mass U.S. government surveillance last year, appeared
together via video link from opposite ends of the earth on
Saturday for what was believed to be the first time since
Snowden sought asylum in Russia.
A sympathetic crowd of nearly 1,000 packed a downtown
Chicago hotel ballroom at Amnesty International USA’s annual
human rights meeting and gave Greenwald, who dialed in from
Brazil, a raucous welcome before Snowden was patched in 15
minutes later to a standing ovation.
, March 26 (Reuters) – In an effort to keep
the state budget afloat, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on
Wednesday proposed making permanent a once-temporary hike in the
state’s income tax, a key issue in the 2014 gubernatorial
Quinn, who is facing a tough re-election campaign against
wealthy Republican venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, sought to
soften the move to lock in the higher tax rate by also offering
a property tax refund to homeowners and increasing the earned
income tax credit for low-income workers.