GRAINS-Soybeans drop 1.6 pct on profit taking, technical selling

* Spot soybeans lower after six sessions of gains
    * Corn, wheat decline on profit-taking setbacks
    * All three commodities posted weekly gains
    * CBOT futures market closed on Monday for Memorial Day

 (Updates with closing prices, weekly performance, fund selling
totals)
    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, May 24 (Reuters) - Nearby U.S. soybean futures fell
on Friday for the first time in seven sessions and spot corn
futures eased after two days of gains as investors squared
positions ahead of the three-day U.S. Memorial Day holiday
weekend.
    Deferred contracts of both commodities posted modest gains
	
in thin trading volume. Wheat prices declined on profit-taking following a 2 percent surge a day earlier and on forecasts for rain in the southern Plains wheat belt this weekend that could boost yields slightly in the nearly mature crop. Volatile price moves on Thursday left some traders weary so trading volume was light. Chicago Board of Trade futures markets will be closed on Monday. "We have a three-day weekend in front of us and there's a bit of fatigue after Thursday's price action, the big rejection of prices on soybeans. That might have shocked a few traders and moved them to the sidelines today," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc. He was referring to an uncommonly wide trading range of nearly 60 cents a day earlier and a steep late-session spike followed by a rapid retreat. The whipsaw price moves also spilled over to corn and wheat. CBOT July soybeans fell 23-1/4 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $14.76-1/4 per bushel. The contract encountered chart resistance near $15.00 and selling pressure intensified as prices fell below Thursday's low of $14.87-1/2 and below chart support around $14.80. "There are a lot of ideas that we peaked out yesterday and
we're seeing some follow-through selling here today. It doesn't help that basis levels have backed off. Apparently a lot of cash beans moved on Thursday's rally," said Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group. "It's a thin trade today so it doesn't take a whole lot to move the market," he added. Persistent rumors that top soybean importer China was cancelling some of its Brazilian soybean purchases and that U.S. livestock and poultry producers were importing more South American cargoes added to the bearish tone, traders said. Still, soybeans posted a fourth straight weekly advance, adding 1.9 percent in the week. Old-crop corn prices slid lower on light profit taking. Deferred contracts edged higher in light trade, with gains capped by forecasts for scattered rain around the U.S. Midwest that were expected to boost the recently planted crop. More than 70 percent of the crop was seeded as of last week and some analysts believe planting could reach 80 to 85 percent by this weekend. CBOT July corn dipped 4-3/4 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $6.57-1/4 a bushel but ended the week higher for a second consecutive week, adding 0.7 percent. Trading was thin ahead of the three-day holiday weekend,
with corn volume totaling little more than half of its 250-day moving average. Wheat retreated from Thursday's one-week high, although declines were limited by a sign wheat export demand may be picking up. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday confirmed private sales of 180,000 tonnes of new-crop soft red winter wheat to China. CBOT July wheat shed 5-3/4 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $6.97-1/2 a bushel but closed with a 2.1 percent weekly gain, its first in three weeks. Commodity funds were net sellers of an estimated 2,000 wheat contracts on the day, as well as 3,000 corn contracts and 7,000 soybean contracts, trade sources said. Prices at 2:02 p.m. CDT (1902 GMT) LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 657.25 -4.75 -0.7% -5.9% CBOT soy 1476.25 -24.50 -1.6% 4.1% CBOT meal 428.20 -8.80 -2.0% 1.8% CBOT soyoil 49.24 -0.42 -0.9% 0.2% CBOT wheat 697.50 -5.75 -0.8% -10.3% CBOT rice 1571.50 16.00 1.0% 5.8% EU wheat 204.75 -3.00 -1.4% -18.2% US crude 93.91 -0.34 -0.4% 2.3% Dow Jones 15,295 0 0.0% 16.7% Gold 1385.77 -4.93 -0.4% -17.2% Euro/dollar 1.2934 -0.0001 0.0% -2.0% Dollar Index 83.5890 -0.2110 -0.3% 4.8% Baltic Freight 826 -2 -0.2% 18.2% (Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and Bob Burgdorfer)

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