GRAINS-U.S. wheat, soybeans, corn fall on profit taking
(Updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, changes byline/dateline, previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures slid 1.5% on Friday, their second straight day of declines, on a profit-taking setback as warming weather in the United States reduced the threat of damage to the dormant crop, traders said.
Corn and soybean futures also weakened, with traders noting a lack of export activity this week even with Chinese buyers back on the market following the Lunar New Year celebrations.
"A bull market needs to be fed everyday," said Mark Gold, founder of Top Third Ag Marketing. "We just do not see export numbers justifying these kind of prices."
All three commodities were still on track to post weekly gains. Soybeans have risen 1.5% this week, and hit a 6-1/2-year high on Thursday.
At 9:38 a.m. CST (1530 GMT), CBOT May soybean futures were down 8 cents at $13.99-1/2 a bushel.
Soybeans are set to end February with a ninth consecutive monthly gain, against a backdrop of dwindling U.S. stocks and a rain-slowed Brazilian harvest that have raised uncertainty about availability to meet strong Chinese demand.
But in China, soybean crushers are expected to curb activity due to Brazilian harvest delays, while fresh outbreaks of African swine fever have created concern about feed demand.
CBOT May wheat was off 10 cents at $6.65-3/4 a bushel and CBOT May corn was down 5-1/2 cents at $5.44-1/4 a bushel. Corn futures have risen 0.3% this week while wheat was up 1.7%.
Many analysts and traders still see global supply tensions supporting grain prices.
"There is a bit of profit-taking, but overall we are still bullish, especially for soybeans and corn," said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities.
"We are just about to enter the critical March-May planting season in the Northern Hemisphere, so there is plenty of risk ahead." (Reporting by Mark Weinraub Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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