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Soybeans, other agricultural futures rally along with energy, metals prices

Soybeans, other agricultural futures rally along with energy, metals prices

Soybean futures neared an all-time high Wednesday as investors bet that exports _ already ahead of last year's pace _ will remain strong into next year.
Other commodities rose broadly, including energy and metals prices.
U.S. exporters have already sold roughly three-quarters of the soybeans the Agriculture Department expects will be sold for the whole marketing year, which ends in June 2008. To make up for dwindling inventories, analysts say farmers need to plant more soybeans than they did last year _ when an ethanol boom drove farmers to plant far more corn acres than usual, at the expense of soybeans.
Soybean exports so far this year are running at 735 million bushels, or about 74 percent of the USDA's total estimate of 995 million bushels. Last year, the farmland given over to soybean plantings was cut by 15 percent, even as demand continued to grow.
Traders are "really looking at long-term demand and creating the price high enough to allow some of the corn acres to be bought back by the soybean industry," said DTN biofuels analyst Rick Kment.
A bushel of soybeans for March delivery jumped 40.25 cents to $12.395 on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier hitting $12.455. Prices are just shy of 1973's all-time high of $12.90 a bushel, which was hit amid a surge in exports to the expanding Russian market.
Other agricultural futures also closed higher. March corn added 8.25 cents to $4.5225 a bushel, while March wheat gained 6 cents to 9.4125 a bushel.
Stronger energy prices also supported the gains in soybeans, at times loosely linked to the energy market because of its use in biofuels. Soybean oil goes into a wide range of packaged foods and can also be used to make biodiesel, an alternative fuel more common in Europe and Asia. Higher oil prices can raise the appeal of biofuels.
"If you look at the energy complex in general, we have crude up again pretty strongly," said Tim DeValle, a consultant with Roach Ag. Marketing Ltd. "Demand has remained solid. The bulls really have a hold of this market."
Meanwhile, oil prices climbed Wednesday as another round of Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq stoked supply concerns about a disruption in the flow of crude. Growing belief that domestic oil inventories fell for a sixth straight week also pushed prices higher.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery rose $1.84 to settle at $95.97 a barrel Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising to $96.54, a one-month high.
January gasoline futures rose 6.86 cents to $2.4526 a gallon, while January heating oil futures increased 4.65 cents to $2.6412 a gallon on the Nymex.
Gold prices rose as the dollar retreated. A weakening greenback can prompt investors to shift funds into precious metals, a traditional safe haven.
An ounce of gold for February climbed $13 to close at $829.50 on the Nymex. Silver futures rose 17.5 cents to settle at $14.835 an ounce.
Nymex copper for March delivery rose 1.65 cents to close at $3.17 a pound.


Updated : 2021-04-20 18:11 GMT+08:00