U.S. agricultural futures close mixed

By Xu Jing

CHICAGO, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures closed mixed on Wednesday, with corn rising and wheat and soybean falling.

The most active corn contract for May delivery rose 3.5 cents, or 0.56 percent, to settle at 6.335 U.S. dollars per bushel. May wheat plunged 19.75 cents, or 2.89 percent, to settle at 6.635 dollars per bushel. May soybean fell 18.5 cents, or 1.26 percent, to settle at 14.485 dollars per bushel.

Wheat and soybean extended the collapse. Russian FOB wheat remains priced to sell at 275 to 280 dollars per metric ton, compared to 300 dollars in late February.

Chicago-based research company AgResource holds that the importance of U.S. weather this spring and summer cannot be overestimated.

U.S. motor gasoline stocks on March 17 totaled 229.6 million barrels, down 6.4 million barrels from the previous week and down 4 percent year on year. Total gasoline consumption last week was 62.7 million barrels, as against 60.2 million barrels in the previous week and up 4 percent year on year.

U.S. ethanol production in the week ending March 17 totaled 293 million gallons, down 5 million gallons from the prior week. U.S. ethanol stocks have peaked and will be drawn down rapidly over the next three to four months.

Heavy rainfall is forecast from Southern Missouri to Ohio this weekend. Additional snow will be scattered across the Central Plains and Midwest on March 28 and 29. A drier and much warmer climate profile will be desired thereafter.

Lingering heavy shower is active across Argentina into the weekend, while meaningful precipitation in Brazil stays confined to Mato Grosso and RGDS in the far South.

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