By Kirk Maltais


-- Corn for May delivery rose 3.1% to $6.25 1/2 a bushel, a nearly eight-year high on the Chicago Board of Trade Wednesday, partially in reaction to speculation China may soon return to purchasing U.S. grain exports.

-- Wheat for July delivery rose 2.1% to $6.75 a bushel.

-- Soybeans for May delivery rose 1.7% to $14.97 1/4 a bushel, a nearly seven-year high.




Welcome Back: After a long absence from buying large amounts of U.S. grain exports, China is rumored to be thinking about stocking up on grains again, which boosted prices Wednesday.

"We heard they were in for corn, new-crop soybeans -- at least inquiring -- and someone mentioned wheat, [which] I doubt," said Terry Reilly of Futures International.

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said Wednesday it plans to try and feed livestock more wheat in lieu of corn and soymeal.


Weathered: Weather in both North and South America continued to support grains futures.

"The most impact now is coming from the unseasonably cold temperatures across the Corn Belt," said Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "Overnight lows are forecast to drop into the freezing range in several areas for the next five to seven days ... While the U.S. corn crop is not far enough along for this to cause major issues, the cold temperatures could easily slow germination and development."


Impressive Strength: Grain futures trading on the CBOT Wednesday rose, as a risk-on sentiment theme continues.

"CBOT values are higher as the bull market maintains its upward velocity," said AgResource. "Another round of new contract highs were scored in May corn, May soybeans and May soybean oil overnight. Impressively, the volume of trade expanded on the rally."

April has been a strong month for grains, this after futures took a hit in the prior month.




High-Octane Soyoil: One factor that's providing support for the rally seen in soybeans is enthusiasm behind biofuels, particularly soyoil.

"It's a repeat of the euphoria of the early 2000s," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX, adding that the introduction of corn-based ethanol at that time prompted the same type of price surge for corn.

"That euphoria is returning, but the focus this time is on the vegetable oil market, led by soyoil," said Mr. Suderman. "New production plants are popping up across the country, and around the world, with uses ranging from over-the-road trucks to passenger airlines. Demand is expected to far exceed the supply over the next five years, pushing the industry closer to the point of crushing for oil."


Stockpile Shrinkage: U.S. ethanol stockpiles slid for nine consecutive weeks, according to the latest data reported by the EIA. Ethanol inventories totaled 20.4 million barrels for the week ended April 16. It's the lowest that inventories have been since mid-November and the figure came in on the high end of estimates provided to Dow Jones by analysts.

Meanwhile, ethanol production for the week was unchanged by the EIA, totaling 941,000 barrels per day.


Looking for a Rebound: Grains traders are projecting export grain sales to rise from lower levels seen in last week's USDA report. The uptick is expected to be seen particularly in corn exports, with sales forecast anywhere between 400,000 metric tons to 1.1 million tons for the week ended April 15, which would be up from 380,300 tons reported in last week's report.




-- Ethanol producer Valero Energy Corp. is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings before the market opens Thursday.

-- The USDA is due to release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.

-- The USDA is scheduled to release its monthly cold storage report at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday.


Write to Kirk Maltais at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2021 15:49 ET (19:49 GMT)

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