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Profit-taking slams soybeans late

02/08/2013 @ 3:13pm

U.S. soybean futures fell to a one-week low on technical selling and profit-taking after a government crop report provided few surprises.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures settled down 34 1/4 cents, or 2.3%, at $14.52 1/2 a bushel.

In its monthly world supply-and-demand report on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecast for global stockpiles of soybeans at the end of the current crop year by 1.1%, more than analysts had expected, to 60.1 million metric tons.

That caused soybeans to begin to fall. Losses then gathered steam late in the session, when speculative traders began selling futures to exit earlier bets on higher prices.Selling picked up after March soybeans fell below their 100-day moving average of around $14.66 1/2 a bushel. Further losses led the contract to settle below its 200-day moving average of around $14.55 a bushel.

The declines came even though the USDA also projected that domestic soybean inventories will total 125 million bushels at the end of this marketing year. The forecast was down 7.4% from last month, more than analysts had expected, due to greater-than-expected domestic soybean processing.

Soybean traders were disappointed that the USDA didn't raise its estimate for soybean exports this season, said John Kleist, a senior analyst with EBOT Trading.com in Lakemoor, Ill. Demand from foreign importers, such as China, for U.S. soybeans has been strong lately.

The USDA raised its forecast for Brazil's soybean output to 83.5 million metric tons, which would be a record, up 1 million tons from its estimate last month. But the government also cut its estimate for Argentina's production to 53 million metric tons due to its drier weather, a decline of 1 million tons from last month.

Corn futures ended the day lower, as the USDA's corn stocks forecasts were higher than expected. The USDA raised its forecast for domestic corn stocks at the end of the crop year by 5%, to 632 million bushels, citing weak export demand for the U.S. crop.

The USDA also said corn demand from foreign buyers remains weak. It cut its forecast for U.S. exports by 50 million bushels to 900 million bushels.

March corn futures settled down 1 3/4 cents, or 0.2%, at $7.09 a bushel, a nearly one-month closing low.

Wheat futures ended mixed. The USDA's world stocks forecast was higher than expected, but its domestic stocks forecast was lower than expected.

The USDA cut its forecast for domestic wheat stocks at the end of the current marketing year by 3.5% to 691 million bushels, citing greater demand for the use of wheat as animal feed.

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