U.S. agricultural futures close mixed

By Xu Jing

CHICAGO, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures closed mixed on Wednesday, with corn rising and wheat and soybean slipping.

The most active corn contract for March delivery rose 2.5 cents, or 0.59 percent, to settle at 4.2725 dollars per bushel. March wheat shed 1.25 cents, or 0.21 percent, to settle at 5.985 dollars per bushel. January soybean lost 0.5 cents, or 0.04 percent, to close at 11.8375 dollars per bushel.

Wheat futures sagged on profit taking of the recent Russian tax related rally. CBOT trade volume has declined as traders became more cautious ahead of the holidays, Chicago-based research company AgResource noted.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not report any new U.S. sales through its daily reporting system.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the United States produced 281 million gallons of ethanol last week, down 10 percent from last year but down only 10 million gallons from last week.

U.S. ethanol stocks soared to 964 million gallons or up 5 percent on last year. Since late October, U.S. ethanol stocks have grown by 12 percent or 100 million gallons.

Weather forecast has reduced rain totals for Argentina from Friday into the weekend, with hot/dry stressful weather for Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. This is abnormal December South American weather which is having an increasing adverse yield impact. The shortage of rain is becoming critical for Argentine crops. The overall dry weather pattern is concerning.

The Argentine dock/crush industry strikes along with abnormal South American weather will keep CBOT corn/soybean prices in an uptrend, AgResource noted. Even CBOT wheat will not be able to fall too far below 5.80-dollar support. Other CBOT analysts are forecasting sideways trade through the holidays.

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