Rain could still save US soya harvest

By Joanna Newman

SOYA-BEAN prices remain completely dominated by the weather, as the crop enters its most vulnerable phase ofg pod-setting.

Unlike maize, which is already too far advanced to be helped significantly by rainfall at this stage, soya beans could still see their yields improved by precipitation and mild temperatures over the next couple of weeks.

After weeks of extreme temperatures and dryness, the short-term weather conditions will be crucial in determining US soya bean output in 1999.

The eastern and southern areas of the midwest are particularly dry and the 6-10 day forecasts have been interpreted as damaging to soya-bean development, with temperatures back up over 90°F by this weekend.

This has led to expectations of lower yields and consequently the Chicago August soya bean contract had rallied to 485.5¢/bushel on Tuesday (10 August), up from 425¢/bushel a couple of weeks earlier.

The US Department of Agriculture has confirmed perceptions of weather damage, lowering its estimate of the percentage of soya beans rated good to excellent to as low as 48% in Illinois and Ohio and 34% in Indiana.

The US soya market has also derived support from reports of Chinese buying interest, especially now that Brazil has more or less completed exporting its own bumper soya bean harvest. Strength in Malaysian palm oil prices is helping US soya oil values.

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