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Monsanto Rises On China OK Of Latin America's GM Crops

Seed giant Monsanto (MON) rose 4.5% Monday after China OK'd more imports of genetically modified crops from Brazil and Argentina.

China on Monday approved imports of Brazilian soy crops grown from genetically modified seeds. That followed Argentina's Saturday announcement that China had given a green light for imports of that country's genetically modified (GM) soy and corn crops.

Monsanto shares had sold off in recent weeks after unauthorized GM wheat raised concerns about U.S. crop exports.

The new varieties that Monsanto is ready to market in Brazil, the world's No. 2 soy crop grower, are designed to fight outbreaks of a type of caterpillar that local producers have struggled to control.

Monsanto is one of the largest seed makers, including genetically modified versions, and makes crop protection products like its widely used Roundup weed killer.

Argentina Agriculture Minister Norberto Yuahar said after meeting with Chinese officials on Saturday that they approved importing three new strains of GM soybeans and a new variety of GM corn.

Monsanto plans to launch its bioengineered worm-resistant soybean seed, Intacta RR2 Pro, in Brazil. It had said that Chinese approval would be crucial.

Nearly all of Argentina's soy crop and much of its corn is genetically modified. In the U.S., about 80% of grains used for food are grown from GM seed. Europe and much of Asia, however, have resisted adopting the seeds for growing food crops, although Europe use as animal feed in Europe.

The USDA on May 29 said it had found unapproved Monsanto GM wheat sprouting on an Oregon farm. The wheat had been modified to resist Monsanto's Roundup weed killer.

Monsanto responded that the wheat was left over from an earlier, government-approved test and that no harm from its growth had been shown.

But the 27-member European Union said it would immediately test all U.S. grain coming into the region. And Japan and South Korea issued bans on U.S. wheat imports.

Monsanto shares fell 11% from a near five-year high of 109.33 on May 15 to 97.05 on June 6 before turning up.