U.S. grains: Soybeans slip off peak, end mostly firm

Corn, wheat dip; strong demand, tight supply limit losses

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures ended mostly firmer on Thursday as late-session buying amid worries over tightening supplies offset earlier profit-taking and technical selling that had dragged prices down from four-year peaks.

Corn and wheat retreated after prior-day increases as investors pocketed some gains.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) January soybean futures ended 1-3/4 cents higher at $11.77-1/2 a bushel after trading as much as 14 cents lower during overnight hours (all figures US$). The most-active contract on Wednesday reached its highest level since June 2016.

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CBOT December corn was down 3-1/4 cents at $4.22-1/2 a bushel after reaching a near 16-month high on Wednesday, while December wheat fell six cents to $5.91-3/4 a bushel.

“We got overbought (in soybeans) and we needed a bit of a correction. Bull markets do that,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist at Zaner Group.

“But we have not done enough to price-ration soybeans at this point,” he said, citing strong demand from domestic crushers and exporters.

Weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export data on Thursday showed soybean export sales last week at a low for the 2020-21 marketing year, but total sales were still above trade expectations at 1.388 million tonnes.

Corn export sales were also slightly above expectations, while wheat sales were below forecasts.

Global grain and oilseed markets have been supported by dry weather in South America and strong demand from China. Recent rains have alleviated some of the weather stress in Brazil and Argentina, but tightening global supplies, particularly for soybeans, have left little room for a crop shortfall.

Grains markets continue to face headwinds from rising coronavirus infections and concerns about widening economic shutdowns that could dent biofuel demand and demand for feed.

— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris.

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