GRAINS-Wheat, soybeans rise as export demand perks up
* Overseas interest increases following price decline
* Brazil transport delays boost demand for U.S. supplies
* Corn mixed; nearby contract supported by short-covering
(Updates prices, adds analyst quote) CHICAGO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures rose 1.2 percent on Wednesday, bolstered by signs that recent price declines have drummed up interest for U.S. supplies on the export market, traders said. Soybean futures also firmed, supported by delays in getting recently harvested crops in Brazil to ports. Corn was mixed, with the front-month contract edging higher on short-covering as the delivery period nears. Deferred corn contracts sagged amid expectations of large plantings in the United States in the spring, followed by a strong harvest in the fall. Wheat gained for a second straight day. Traders said cash supplies on the export market were cheaper than corn, which boosted demand from overseas buyers looking for animal feed. "It seems to me that we are close to (getting), or have already gotten, some business on wheat," said Bill Gentry, a broker with Risk Management Commodities. "That's giving you an underlying bullish tone." At 11:23 a.m. CST (1723 GMT), soft red winter wheat futures for March delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 8-1/2 cents at $7.14-1/4 a bushel. At the Kansas City Board of Trade, March hard red winter wheat was 9-1/2 cents higher at $7.42-1/4 despite improving crop prospects following heavy snowstorms in the U.S. Plains. CBOT March corn rose 4 cents to $7.09 a bushel. "U.S. wheat is looking highly competitive on world markets and this is likely to generate more demand for export sales," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. "Corn is suffering a little as its recent price rise could mean some feed share lost to wheat, although corn still looks well supported." CBOT March soybeans added 6-1/4 cents at $14.54 a bushel. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday morning said private exporters had reported the sale of 240,000 tonnes of U.S soybeans, including 120,000 tonnes to China. "Even with the South American harvest coming on, the United States is still selling soybeans to China as South American vessels are waiting to load soybeans out of their ports," said Brian Hoops, senior market analyst at Midwest Market Solutions.
Soybean prices received additional support on bargain hunting after falling for three days in a row and shedding 2.7 percent of their value during the losing streak. Traders said the market is closely watching Brazil's soybean crop progress for any signs of disruption or transport problems.
"The world urgently needs new-crop soybeans from Brazil after the poor U.S. and South American harvests last year, and any harvest delays may well cause markets to rise because this would cause almost immediate supply tightness," a European trader said. Brazil's 2013/14 soybean harvest has accelerated in the past week as weather over the grain belt turned drier and allowed producers to make progress in collecting what is expected to be a record crop.
Prices at 11:25 a.m. CST (1725 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 709.25 4.25 0.6% 1.6% CBOT soy 1453.75 6.00 0.4% 2.5% CBOT meal 430.40 2.70 0.6% 2.3% CBOT soyoil 49.03 0.01 0.0% -0.3% CBOT wheat 714.25 8.50 1.2% -8.2% CBOT rice 1554.00 6.00 0.4% 4.6% EU wheat 246.25 3.50 1.4% -1.6%US crude 93.14 0.51 0.6% 1.4% Dow Jones 14,025 125 0.9% 7.0% Gold 1602.31 -10.80 -0.7% -4.3% Euro/dollar 1.3104 0.0043 0.3% -0.7% Dollar Index 81.6600 -0.2100 -0.3% 2.4% Baltic Freight 745 4 0.5% 6.6%
In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel, rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb.
(Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson)