Soybean futures led losses in a quiet session ahead of a series of government supply-and-demand reports.
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Brazilian agricultural agency Conab raised its projections for this season's soybean harvest to 110.4 million metric tons, from 109.2 million in December. That's below last year's record, but good growing conditions have allowed the nascent crop to flourish in many parts of the country, leading to larger estimates.
Adding to the pressure were underwhelming weekly export sales. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that exporters sold 616,400 metric tons of oilseed in the week ended Jan. 4. That was within the range of pre-report estimates, though soybean export sales so far in 2017-18 lag the previous year by 14%, according to AgResource Co.
"Soybeans in the last two weeks have digested incremental boosts in Brazilian soybean production estimates, as well as a string of disappointing weekly export sales," the research firm said.
The USDA separately on Thursday said that private exporters sold 132,000 tons of soybeans to what it called unknown destinations for 2017-18.
January-dated oilseed futures fell 0.7% to $9.40 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.
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Grain contracts were little changed. CBOT March wheat futures fell 0.2% to $4.33 1/4 a bushel while March corn contracts slid 0.1% to $3.48 3/4 a bushel.
Export sales of grain were also disappointing, analysts said. Exporters sold 71,500 tons of wheat in the end ended Jan. 4, below the range of estimates. Corn sales were within the range.
Conab also put Brazil's corn crop at 92.3 million metric tons, slightly higher than its previous estimate of 92.2 million. Conditions in Brazil allow farmers to plant two corn crops a year.
The USDA will release its own estimates for Brazil's corn and soybean crops in a series of reports due Friday at noon, which will also update market participants on U.S. wheat planting, crop production and stockpiles.
Analysts mostly expect the agency's figures to confirm an outlook of large supply and lackluster exports that could continue to pressure prices for months to come.
--Jeffrey T. Lewis contributed to this article.
Write to Benjamin Parkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2018 15:32 ET (20:32 GMT)