Soybean export premiums at the US Gulf Coast were steady to firm on Friday as good export demand from China and a drought-reduced South American crop supported prices, traders said.
China may have bought up to four more cargoes of US old-crop soybeans for shipment from the US Pacific Northwest, bringing the week's total US sales to nearly 1 million tonnes, traders said.
Forecasts for losses in South America's soy crop due to drought, along with the strong Chinese demand, supported stronger-than-normal US export demand.
Brazilian Agriculture Ministry said rumours that the government would slow or halt soyabean exports were untrue.
The rumours fuelled a late rally in Chicago Board of Trade futures that sent the spot contract to a 7-1/2-month high.
Corn export premiums at the Gulf were flat in quiet trading, dealers said.
There has been no government or private confirmation of the rumours China bought US corn.
Traders said some corn was likely sold, with a USDA confirmation possibly due on Monday morning, as the recent drop in US prices and near-record Chinese domestic prices triggered buying.
A positive import margin for Chinese buyers of US corn was about $30 a tonne, including import duties, traders said.
Demand for US corn otherwise was slow as old-crop US prices at the Gulf were not competitive with South American prices, which were about $15 to $20 per tonne lower on a FOB basis.