Soybean Futures Fall to Multi-Month Low

By Benjamin ParkinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Soybean futures fell to an 11-week low as wetter South American weather intensified concerns about oversupply.

Oilseed contracts for January delivery fell 0.6% to $9.56 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest close since Oct. 3. Prices rose overnight before turning lower.

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Analysts said selling pressure was exacerbated by improving growing conditions in Argentina, a major soybean producer and exporter. As much as half of the country's corn-and-soybean belt was too dry earlier this growing season. That share is now shrinking as more rain waters the country's crops.

The Commodity Weather Group said that areas of notable stress would fall to 15% of the corn and soybean acreage by the end of the week, though the six-to-10-day outlook for showers was more limited. Temperatures are also forecast to rise through the end of the year.

The improving weather outlook prompted traders, including hedge funds, to sour on price prospects for the oilseed. Regulatory data released last week showed money managers cutting their bets that prices would rise by almost two-thirds, coming to a net long position of a little under 20,000 futures and options contracts.

Signs of demand for U.S. soybeans have done little to ease the selling pressure this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday that private exporters sold 145,000 metric tons of soybeans to what it called unknown destinations for 2018-19, following from sales of almost 400,000 tons to China for 2017-18 on Monday.

Grain futures were mixed. CBOT March wheat futures fell 0.2% to $4.19 1/2 a bushel while March corn rose 0.1% to $3.47 1/2 a bushel. Traders were monitoring the winter wheat crop in the U.S. Plains, with a cold snap due next week posing a potential threat to crop conditions.

Outside markets were otherwise supportive, with crude oil futures rising while the U.S. dollar fell. That did little to ease broader pressures in grain-and-oilseed markets on Tuesday, analysts said.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 19, 2017 16:11 ET (21:11 GMT)