Soybean futures surge, wheat slumps

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    CHICAGO – Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures surged to their highest prices since March 2018 after the US Department of Agriculture on Friday said inventories will dwindle to a five-year low.

    Corn futures advanced to a one-year high, while wheat futures slumped in a setback from a five-year high reached on Thursday.

    Traders are keeping a close eye on crop supplies following an uptick in demand from China, the world’s top soybean importer.

    In a monthly report, the USDA cut its forecast for domestic soybean ending stocks by 37 percent to 290 million bushels. That was below analysts’ expectations for 369 million.

    The USDA increased its estimate for US soybean exports by 3.5 percent from September to 2.2 billion bushels.

    “The bean ending stocks at 290 billion bushels are implying a whole lot of use,” said Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Since we’ve sold record amounts to the Chinese already, USDA must be figuring that it’s going to continue for a while longer.”

    Most-active CBOT soybeans ended up 15-1/2 cents at $10.65-1/2 a bushel and touched their highest price since March 2, 2018.