U.S. agricultural futures rise

By Xu Jing

CHICAGO, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) agricultural futures rose across the board on Friday, led by wheat.

The most active corn contract for May delivery rose 11.25 cents, or 1.78 percent, to settle at 6.43 U.S. dollars per bushel. May wheat soared 26.5 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at 6.885 dollars per bushel. May soybean gained 8.75 cents, or 0.62 percent, to settle at 14.2825 dollars per bushel.

Funds' short covering pushed up CBOT agricultural futures. While it is premature to count on U.S. yield expansion, Chicago-based research company AgResource suggests staying patient with new sales.

Comments from Russia regarding future wheat exports over the Black Sea corridor during the summer months have been fine-tuned, showing an outright halt to exports is unlikely. Rather there is support for keeping FOB offers above 275 dollars per metric ton to assure farmer profitability. A price floor does imply limited downside risk in U.S. and EU wheat futures.

U.S. exporters Friday sold another 204,000 metric tons of corn to China, bringing total Chinese purchases since mid-March to 2.57 million metric tons. March 1 corn stocks data is important.

Brazilian soybeans for April-May delivery are quoted 55 to 60 dollars below U.S. Gulf origin per metric ton. But Argentina is likely to source some 8 to 10 million metric tons of soybeans from Brazil, and this may trim Brazil's export potential.

It will be wetter in the western Midwest into late next week but warmer and drier thereafter. Heavy rain is projected this weekend across the Delta and Central and Eastern Midwest. Central U.S. weather takes on more importance beginning late next week.

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