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USDA numbers send soybeans soaring

09/12/2013 @ 2:46pm

Soybean futures settled sharply higher Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut projected U.S. output this year due to a spate of hot, dry weather in parts of the Midwest.

Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for November delivery, the most-active contract, rose 37 3/4 cents, or 2.8%, to $13.96 a bushel.

Meanwhile, corn prices declined after the USDA surprised analysts by raising its forecast for the size of this year's corn harvest. CBOT corn for December delivery, the most-active contract, fell 6 1/4 cents, or 1.3%, to $4.66 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat prices settled higher after falling earlier in the session. CBOT December wheat futures gained 5 cents, or 0.8%, to $6.53 a bushel.

The USDA, in a closely watched monthly crop report, estimated the nation's soybean harvest will total 3.149 billion bushels this year, down 3% from its estimate last month.


That forecast was in line with analysts' expectations, but the USDA trimmed projected domestic supplies for a year from now more than analysts had expected. The government said soybean inventories will total 150 million bushels next Aug. 31, the end of the current crop year, below the average analyst estimate of 161 million bushels in a survey by The Wall Street Journal.

The soybean crop has been more prone to the recent dryness in Iowa and other big farm states than the corn crop because it has a later growing season.

The USDA's reduction in projected soybean supplies comes at a time when domestic inventories already are tight following last year's historic drought in the Midwest, which curbed output.

"The USDA confirmed that on the production side, things are going to be pretty tight," said Brian Hoops, the president of agricultural-advisory firm Midwest Market Solutions in Springfield, Mo. "That puts a big floor under the markets."

For corn, the USDA said the harvest will total a record 13.843 billion bushels, slightly higher than its estimate last month. Analysts had expected the USDA to trim its projection to about 13.6 billion bushels--though that still would have been a record--because of the adverse weather in the Farm Belt in recent weeks. But the USDA said expected declines in corn yields in parts of the Midwest would be offset by higher output in the South and Great Plains.

--Eric Morath, Alexandra Wexler and Kelsey Gee contributed to this article.
Write to Tony C. Dreibus at tony.dreibus@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 12, 2013 14:54 ET (18:54 GMT)
DJ Soybean Prices Gain After USDA Cuts Output Forecast; Corn Falls->copyright

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