By Kirk Maltais
-- Corn for July delivery rose 1.7% to $7.31 1/2 a bushel, its highest close since March 2013, on the Chicago Board of Trade Friday as U.S. rainfall this weekend may come up short in quenching the driest crop areas.
-- Soybeans for July delivery rose 1.3% to $15.98 a bushel, its highest close since September 2012.
-- Wheat for July delivery rose 1.3% to $7.63 1/4 a bushel, its highest close since February 2013.
Missing the Mark: Rainfall hitting the U.S. Midwest this weekend appears likely to miss the dry crop-growing areas that need rain the most in the Northern Plains.
"Upcoming weekend rains are seen mostly sliding south into the heart of the belt, with a similar pattern for the 6- to 10-day period as well," said Arlan Suderman of StoneX. According to Mr. Suderman, increasing dryness is being seen in areas of Minnesota and Iowa in addition to the Dakotas.
The impact of this dryness will be evident in the USDA's next crop progress report, due Monday at 4 p.m. EDT.
Compromising Positions: Grain traders now turn their attention to next week's WASDE report from the USDA.
"We are now seeing more positioning in the market" ahead of next week's long-awaited report, said Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "This is one of the most anticipated of the marketing year as it contains the first official look at new crop balance sheets."
Grains have been finding new multi-year highs in trading this week amid projections of tight row crop supplies and robust demand.
Slim Pickings: Production of corn is expected to rise by nearly 1 billion bushels in this upcoming growing season, according to analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this week. They predict the USDA will forecast in next week's WASDE report that U.S. corn production will total 15.07 billion bushels in the 2021-22 growing season, up from 14.18 billion bushels in 2020-21.
Meanwhile, soybean production is expected to total 4.44 billion bushels, up from 4.14 billion bushels last year.
"Corn production has little room to encounter any problems and even if conditions are great, we're not going to see a robust surplus next year," said Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital.
Hampered Harvest: Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal this week also forecast the USDA would peg Brazilian corn production down to 103.4 million metric tons this year, which is off nearly 6 million tons from 109 million tons at this time last year. Soybean production, meanwhile, is expected to rise slightly, up 100,000 tons to 136.1 million tons.
Argentinian soybean production, meanwhile, is expected to drop 800,000 tons to 46.7 million tons, with corn production up 400,000 tons to 47.4 million tons.
The WASDE is due Wednesday at noon EDT.
Buyer's Remorse: The USDA confirmed Friday morning that China is still in the market for U.S. corn, with Beijing buying 1.36 million metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery in the 2021-22 marketing year.
The fresh buying interest, confirming speculation among traders this week of China's renewed intentions to snap up U.S. grain exports, comes as some analysts forecast that China's appetite for export goods as a whole may be at its apex.
Commodities exports to China fell in April, which may eventually weigh on prices as the year continues, said Capital Economics.
-- Tyson Foods Inc. is scheduled to release its first- quarter earnings before the stock market opens Monday.
-- The USDA is due to release its weekly export inspections report at 11 a.m. EDT Monday.
-- The USDA is scheduled to release its weekly crop progress report at 4 p.m. EDT Monday.
Write to Kirk Maltais at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires