Soybean Futures Turn Lower; Grain Prices Fall

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Soybean futures gave back early gains to close lower as weak grain prices added to pressure.

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Oilseed prices initially rose on the back of global export demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday morning that private exporters reported sales of 261,000 metric tons of soybeans to China for 2017-18, alongside a further 126,000 tons to what the agency categorized as unknown destinations.

Strong demand for U.S. soybeans has buoyed traders who are betting it will help eat into what is expected to be a large oilseed harvest. The USDA currently forecasts this year's domestic soybean production at a record high.

Meanwhile, bad weather in South America -- with Brazilian soil too dry for planting soybeans, and Argentina too wet -- has helped prices as traders bet that the growing season there will get off to a slow start.

But soybean futures eventually gave back those early gains, succumbing to pressure from lower corn prices and early harvest reports. November soybean futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.1% to $9.67 3/4 a bushel.

Farmers in the eastern and southern Corn Belt are reporting better-than-expected corn and soybean yields as they begin to harvest their crops. That weighed down the corn market in particular, which lacked fresh buying interest on Monday.

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Analysts expect the USDA to say that 10% of the corn harvest is complete, along with 5% of soybeans, in its weekly crop progress report due at 4 p.m. EDT.

CBOT December corn futures fell 0.9% to $3.51 1/2 a bushel, while December wheat contracts dropped 1.2% to $4.43 1/2 a bushel.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 18, 2017 15:56 ET (19:56 GMT)