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U.S. grains: Soybeans retreat as traders eye rising stockpiles

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell on Wednesday as traders turned their attention to rising inventories from a record-large harvest and mostly favourable crop weather in South America, analysts said.

Corn and wheat futures drifted lower, with this week’s surge in the dollar adding pressure. A firmer dollar tends to make U.S. goods less competitive on the world market.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans settled down 3-3/4 cents at $9.85-3/4 per bushel (all figures US$). December corn ended down three cents at $3.38-1/2 a bushel and December wheat fell two cents to $3.97 a bushel.

Soybeans were higher in early moves, supported in part by follow-through buying a day after the National Oilseed Processors Association said its members in October recorded their third-largest soy crush in history.

But the market was unable to maintain those advances, and the benchmark January contract dropped back below its 200-day moving average.

“We got a little bounce off the crush report yesterday, and now you go back to what you were trading before, which is big carry-outs and favorable weather in South America,” said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis.

The market flagged despite the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirming fresh export sales of U.S. soybeans for the third day in a row.

“There are some worries about demand, with the dollar being as high as it is, even though we keep selling soybeans to China. People are thinking they will be cancelling these sales sooner or later,” said Jack Scoville, analyst with the Price Futures Group.

U.S. soy sales are expected to stall early in 2017 as the South American harvest becomes available, Scoville said.

Corn futures appeared to face chart resistance. The December contract was unable to push above its 50- and 100-day moving averages, which have converged near $3.43 per bushel.

Both corn and soybeans had underlying support from a slowdown in farmer selling as the U.S. harvest wound down. USDA reported corn harvest progress at 93 per cent and soybean progress at 97 per cent as of Sunday.

Wheat futures declined despite news of a large purchase by Algeria. The North African country’s state grains agency, OAIC, bought 580,000 tonnes of optional-origin milling wheat, European traders said.

Traders thought the wheat was likely to be sourced from the U.S., Germany and the Baltic states. Algeria, one of the world’s largest grain importers, does not publish details of its international tenders.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago. Additional reporting for Reuters by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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