U.S. agricultural futures rise

By Xu Jing

CHICAGO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures rose across the board on Thursday, led by wheat.

The most active corn contract for March delivery rose 7.75 cents, or 1.15 percent, to settle at 6.825 U.S. dollars per bushel. March wheat gained 11.25 cents, or 1.52 percent, to settle at 7.525 dollars per bushel. March soybean climbed 21 cents, or 1.4 percent, to settle at 15.235 dollars per bushel.

CBOT futures were higher on better than expected U.S. weekly export sales. The CBOT choppiness should persist as rain in Argentina pressures prices while the hope that China returns to the world raw materials market with new buying following the Lunar New Year holiday supports.

With spot corn and soybean prices at their second best level on record for the month of January, buying rally is difficult with funds already holding a sizeable long position. Chicago-based research company AgResource warns against chasing rallies or breaks, and advises keeping positioning small.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the sale of 106,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China for the new crop season 2023-2024.

U.S. weekly export sales were better than expected. For the week ending Jan. 19, the United States sold 18.4 million bushels of wheat, 35.8 million bushels of corn and 42.1 million bushels of soybeans. For respective crop years to date, the United States has sold 589 million bushels of wheat, down 7 percent year on year; 784 million bushels of corn, down 45 percent; and 1,710 million bushels of soybeans, up 5 percent from last year.

Showers should start to become more numerous later Thursday and Friday across Argentina and Southern Brazil. A second system is offered for mid next week.

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