GRAINS-Weak export sales report pushes U.S. soy, wheat futures lower

(Updates with U.S. trading; adds new analyst quote, export sales data; changes byline; previous dateline PARIS/SINGAPORE)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures fell 1.3% on Thursday, after hitting a 6-1/2-year high overnight, on signs of poor export demand for U.S. supplies, traders said.

Weak overseas demand also pressured the corn and wheat markets.

"You had poor export sales," said Jim Gerlach, president of U.S. broker A/C Trading. "That is the driving force."

The U.S. Agriculture Department said early Thursday that weekly export sales of soybeans totaled 238,700 tonnes, the smallest weekly total since the week ended Dec. 31.

Corn export sales totaled 599,100 tonnes, an eight-month low, while wheat export sales totaled 182,600 tonnes, the lowest weekly total since the week ended Jan. 2, 2020.

"Corn export sales were within the range of guesses ... but not nearly enough to keep the futures up with beans cratering," Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital, said in a note.

CBOT May soybean futures were down 17-1/2 cents at $14.08-1/4 a bushel. The most-active contract peaked at $14.45-3/4, its highest since June 12, 2014, during the overnight trading session.

CBOT May corn futures were 8 cents lower at $5.49 a bushel and CBOT May soft red winter wheat was down 10 cents at $6.75-1/2 a bushel.

Traders also noted some profit taking. In addition to the multi-year peak in soybeans, wheat futures hit a five-week high on Wednesday while corn notched three straight days of gains this week.

Recent rain has boosted overall prospects for soybean output in Brazil and also Argentina. But the slow start to Brazilian harvesting has increased focus on tight short-term supplies as U.S. stocks dwindle.

Heavy rain is forecast in Brazil's northern soybean belt in the week ahead, and the showers are also likely to delay the planting of the country's second corn crop. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Richard Chang)

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