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Weak exports sink soybean futures

02/14/2013 @ 4:31pm

U.S. soybean futures fell Thursday, pressured by disappointing export sales and expectations for large South American crops.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans settled down 5 cents, or 0.4%, at $14.18 a bushel, a one-month closing low.

Net weekly export sales of U.S. soybeans totaled 235,800 metric tons in the week through Feb. 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Thursday. That was well below traders' expectations for sales from 700,000 to 1.1 million tons.

The weekly export report included net sales cancellations of 109,200 metric tons for delivery in the 2012-13 marketing year and sales of 345,000 metric tons for delivery in the next marketing year.

Soybean export demand in recent weeks has been strong, including from China, the world's largest importer of soybeans, making the new sales report particularly surprising. The Chinese New Year holiday was approaching during the period covered by the report, but it hadn't yet begun, and analysts had expected robust Chinese demand during the period.

Soybeans also fell on improved weather conditions for crops in South America. A decrease in rainfall for Brazil is easing concerns about harvest delays, and rains in Argentina have moderately eased worries about dry weather there threatening crops.

"The high-pressure ridge that had been parked over Argentina during a big part of January and early February is gone, and with it being gone, it raises the potential for rain and thunderstorms," said Drew Lerner, president of forecaster World Weather Inc. in Overland Park, Kan.

Overnight rains in Argentina missed the country's most important dry areas for crops, but rainfall of one to three-and-a-half inches was still "important and very much beneficial" in northern regions, he said.

The country's driest central regions have their best chances of rain on Friday and Saturday, Mr. Lerner said.

Wheat futures also fell Thursday, pressured by the decline in soybean prices and negative technical signals.

CBOT March wheat fell 3 1/2 cents, or 0.5% to $7.32 a bushel. KCBT March wheat fell 5 1/4 cents or 0.7% to $7.75 a bushel. MGEX March wheat fell 3 3/4 cents or 0.5%, to $8.19 1/4 a bushel.

Soybeans also weighed on corn, which closed lower for a tenth straight session despite concerns that the current sell-off has been overdone. Improved weather in Argentina is also benefiting corn crops there, though soybeans are at greater risk from the dryness at this point in the season.

March corn futures fell 3/4 cent, or 0.1%, to $6.94 3/4 a bushel, a fresh one-month low.

--Andrew Johnson Jr. contributed to this article.
Write to Owen Fletcher at
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 14, 2013 15:58 ET (20:58 GMT)
DJ UPDATE: U.S. Soybeans Fall on Weak Exports, South America Weather->copyright

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