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U.S. grains: Soy hits one-month low

Brazil weather, technical signals drag on January soybeans

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell to their lowest in a month on Monday, pressured by improving crop weather in South America and chart-based selling, with the benchmark January contract falling through several key moving averages, analysts said.

Wheat fell in technical moves amid a lack of news, and corn fell but the lead December contract stayed in a narrow trading range, holding above last week’s contract low.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans settled down 12-3/4 cents at $9.74-1/4 per bushel after dipping to $9.73-3/4, the contract’s lowest since Oct. 12 (all figures US$).

December wheat ended down 7-1/4 cents at $4.24-1/4 a bushel and December corn fell 1-1/4 cents at $3.42-1/4 a bushel.

Technical selling in soybeans accelerated as the January contract fell below support at its 50-, 100- and 200-day moving averages.

Fundamentally, traders focused on improving crop weather in South America, including top global soy exporter Brazil.

“Rains were widespread across northern Brazil this past weekend, which began to replenish moisture for corn and soybean early growth. Additional improvements are expected in far northern areas this week,” MDA Weather Services said in a note to clients.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export inspections of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at 2.087 million tonnes, in line with trade expectations but down from this same week a year ago, when weekly inspections totalled 2.785 million tonnes.

China is by far the world’s biggest soybean buyer, and “the bulk of their buying continues to be from South America,” said Rich Feltes, vice president for research with R.J. O’Brien.

Some analysts expect Brazil to win a larger share of China’s soybean imports in coming months, during what is normally the peak marketing season for U.S. soybeans, as the world grapples with a fifth consecutive bumper crop.

CBOT wheat fell 1.7 per cent, but traders said the move was largely technical in nature. Strength in the dollar added pressure, making U.S. grains less attractive at a time of strong competition for export business.

“The U.S. needs to export substantial amounts of wheat so prices remain vulnerable to further U.S. dollar strength,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

In a sign of the growing importance of Black Sea grain markets, CME Group, the owner of CBOT, said it would next month launch Black Sea wheat and corn futures based on export price assessments by Platts.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral.

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