U.S. grains: Soy falls on profit-taking

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures fell from their highest since late July on Friday as traders locked in profits from this week’s weather-driven rally.

Soymeal futures were mixed, with the most active contract snapping an eight-session winning streak after rallying to its highest in more than a year and a half. Deferred soymeal contracts remained firm.

Concerns about dry conditions in Argentina continued to underpin soybean prices but traders were in risk-off mode following gains this week.

“The beans have had a good run over the last four to five days,” said Dewey Strickler, president of Ag Watch Market Advisors. “Going into a long weekend we see a bit of a break.”

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U.S. grains markets will be closed for the Presidents Day holiday on Monday.

Profit-taking also pressured wheat and corn futures but both grains post their fifth straight week of gains.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures ended down 2-3/4 cents at $10.21-1/2 a bushel (all figures US$). CBOT March soymeal was off 40 cents at $373.30 a ton.

“Weather forecasters still expect light rains that are well short of the soaking that some of Argentina needs to arrest declining crop conditions,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

CBOT March corn futures were 1/4 cent lower at $3.67-1/2 a bushel. Deferred corn futures contracts also were slightly weaker.

Corn ran into technical resistance at the six-month high it hit on Thursday but a U.S. Agriculture Department announcement of a snap sale of 116,000 tonnes of corn to Japan lent support.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat fell four cents to 4.57-3/4 a bushel.

A bounce in the dollar after a three-year low earlier in the day against a basket of currencies also encouraged prices to consolidate.

For the week, CBOT wheat was up two per cent, CBOT corn was up 1.5 per cent and CBOT soybeans were up 3.9 per cent. CBOT soymeal rose 8.8 per cent this week, its biggest weekly gain since early July.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters correspondent covering grain markets from Chicago; additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris.

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