By Kirk Maltais

-Wheat for March delivery rose 3.7% to $5.81 1/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade on Tuesday, with the long-awaited short covering expected by the market seeming to materialize.

-Corn for March delivery rose 0.6% to $4.19 a bushel.

-Soybeans for March delivery rose 0.6% to $11.78 3/4 a bushel.


Short Covering Surge: CBOT wheat led the agricultural complex higher today, following the overarching narrative about grain futures rebounding off of recently-placed bottoms in price. "No news I see is driving this," said John Payne of Hedgepoint Global, assigning most of the movement to short-covering by traders. Soft red winter wheat futures on the CBOT posted a contraction in short positions among fund traders for the week ended Feb. 13, the CFTC reported Friday. Corn and soybeans showed increases in short positions for the week.

Finding the Bottom: Wider support for grains came as analysts speculated that the downtrend seen since the start of the year may be coming to an end as the new planting season draws nearer. "The corn market is in a solid downtrend with not a lot of positive news, but it is also true that bottoms tend to be put in when everyone is bearish and right now it is pretty hard to find anyone who isn't bearish," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage in a note--with the soybean market seeing similar dynamics.


Turning on the Faucet: Rainfall is forecast for South America later this week, which is supportive for Argentina's crops, and an issue for some crops growing in Brazil. "The weather forecasts for Argentina are improving with more showers expected this week but coming after a hot and dry period first," Jack Scoville of the Price Futures Group said in a note. "On the other hand, more rain is forecast for central and northern Brazil and the soybeans harvest could be delayed and that could mean less corn planted area." Improved crops in South America put pricing pressure on the CBOT.

Behind the 8 Ball: The pace of U.S. soybean export inspections continue to fall further behind the pace of this time last year, according to the latest USDA data. In its latest grain export inspections report, the agency reported that soybean inspections totaled 1.19 million metric tons. That's down from last week, and down from 1.58 million tons at this time last year. The gap in total shipments between this year and last year grows wider - with this year's total at 31.97 million tons, down 23% from last year. Meanwhile, corn shipments are up from both last week and this time last year, totaling 918,610 tons. Wheat is down from last week, but up from the previous year at 380,774 tons.

Potential Windfall: The Biden Administration is expected to release its updated GREET model--the method that the government assesses the carbon emissions of renewable fuels--on March 1, and analysts are speculating that the update will be supportive for U.S. biofuels production. This is because EPA head Michael Regan will be joining Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at an industry trade show that is scheduled for March 1--the Commodity Classic, which is an annual show held in Houston this year. "[We] doubt that EPA's Regan would be joining USDA Secretary Vilsack if the GREET model update was to be adverse to U.S. agriculture," said AgResource in a note.


-The EIA will release its weekly ethanol production and stocks report at 11 a.m. ET Thursday.

-The USDA will release its monthly Livestock Slaughter report at 3 p.m. ET Thursday.

-The USDA will release its weekly export sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday.

-The USDA will release its monthly Cattle on Feed report at 3 p.m. ET Friday.

-The USDA will release its monthly Cold Storage report at 3 p.m. ET Friday.

-The CFTC will release its weekly Commitment of Traders report at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday.

Write to Kirk Maltais at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-20-24 1506ET