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Soybean Futures Close Higher as Export Sales Jump; Grains Decline

Export Sales Up Week-Over-Week For Beans, Corn

Soybean futures closed higher Thursday as investors focus on strong demand and digest the Federal Reserve's decision to hike interest rates, an indication that the economy is strong. Corn and wheat, however, were both lower.

The interest-rate hike, while it may increase costs for growers buying land or large farm equipment, also indicates low unemployment and improved consumer sentiment.

Traders also may be reacting to strong sales of U.S. agricultural products to overseas buyers. Soybean sales totaled 2 million metric tons in the week that ended on Dec. 8, up 44% from the prior week and 33% from the previous four-week average, according to the Department of Agriculture. 

Corn sales topped 1.5 million metric tons, up 1% week-over-week and 8% from the average. Wheat sales rose 6% from the previous week but were down 7% from the average, the USDA said. 

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 6 1/2 cents to $10.30 1/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soymeal rose $1.50 to $314.30 a short ton and soy oil lost 0.17 cent to 36.75 cents a pound. 

Corn futures declined 5 3/4 cents to $3.56 1/4 a bushel in Chicago amid some spread trading.

Wheat futures dropped on expectations that snowfall in the U.S. southern Plains will provide a protective layer over hard-red winter plants that were vulnerable to winterkill. Temperatures below freezing are expected, but the snow may prevent damage, forecasters said. 

Wheat for March delivery dropped 9 cents to $4.09 a bushel in Chicago. Kansas City futures fell 8 1/4 cents to $4.11 3/4 a bushel. 

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