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U.S. grains: Soybeans fall on weak exports, bumper Brazil harvest

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures dropped for a second straight day on Thursday on technical selling and profit taking following government data showing lower-than-anticipated U.S. export sales last week.

Forecasts for rain and cooler temperatures in Argentina by mid-February and an accelerating soy harvest in Brazil further weighed on prices.

Corn and wheat followed soybeans lower in a profit-taking and technical slide, although declines in corn were offset by stronger-than-expected export sales in the weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

“The market’s hanging on every weather forecast,” said Brian Basting, analyst with Advance Trading. “And our export sales for beans were a strong indication that the Brazilian crop, although not in the bin yet, seems to be edging higher.”

U.S. soybean export sales are lagging the pace needed to reach the USDA’s forecast as the traditional U.S. export season, which runs from the autumn harvest until Brazil’s harvest ramps up in February, winds down.

Net U.S. soybean export sales last week totaled just 409,700 tonnes, well below trade expectations and the lowest in eight months, according to USDA data.

Meanwhile, broker and consultancy INTL FCStone on Thursday raised its Brazilian soybean harvest forecast to 111.08 million tonnes, up about 1 million from its January outlook and above the USDA’s latest estimate of 110 million tonnes.

USDA will update its supply and demand estimates in a monthly report next week.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans were down 10-3/4 cents at $9.85 a bushel (all figures US$). The contract earlier touched a near-two-week low, with selling accelerating as it breached its 50-, 100- and 200-day moving averages.

CBOT March corn ended 1/4 cent higher at $3.61-3/4 a bushel after sinking to a low of $3.58-1/2. Strong export sales data offset spillover pressure from soybeans.

Net corn export sales of nearly 1.9 million tonnes last week topped trade expectations.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat was 3/4 cent lower at $4.51 a bushel, easing for a second straight day following a five-session rally that took prices to three-month lows.

Weaker-than-expected wheat export sales and large world supplies hung over the market.

Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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