Soy barge bids firm on exporter demand; fog slows traffic

Basis bids for soybeans shipped by barge to U.S. Gulf terminals firmed on Friday along with export premiums, reflecting exporter demand following a series of U.S. soybean sales this week, traders said.

* Corn barge bids were flat in subdued trade.

* Freight costs held steady after inching higher this week as a pick-up in farmer soybean sales boosted demand for barges, while fog continued to slow navigation on the Mississippi River. The National Weather Service posted dense fog advisories on Friday afternoon along much of the Gulf Coast including New Orleans.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of 1.470 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans over the course of this week, including 512,000 tonnes earmarked for China and the rest for unknown destinations.

* CIF soybean barges loaded in December traded at 149 cents over Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) January (SF3) futures and were re-bid at 144 cents over futures, up 3 cents from Thursday's last bid.

* Export premiums for soybeans shipped in January rose to around 160 cents over futures, up 3 cents form Thursday.

* For corn, CIF barges loaded in December were bid at 114 cents over CBOT March (CH3) futures, steady with Thursday.

* Corn export premiums for January loadings held at around 135 cents over March futures.

* The USDA left its forecast of 2022/23 U.S. soybean exports unchanged at 2.045 billion bushels (55.66 million tonnes) and its U.S. wheat export forecast unchanged at 775 million bushels (21.09 million tonnes).

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