U.S. grains: Soybeans slip from rally, eyes on China talks

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures declined for the first time in five sessions on Tuesday in a profit-taking and technical setback after notching 3-1/2-week highs a day earlier.

Losses were limited, however, by hopes that trade talks between Washington and Beijing will open the door for more U.S. soybean exports to China following sizable sales to state-owned firms on Monday.

Corn futures also eased after hitting fresh three-week highs earlier in the day, while wheat advanced on hopes for a pickup in export demand amid higher prices in rival exporting countries.

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China and the United States will continue trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day as officials from the world’s two largest economies looked to resolve their bitter trade dispute that has slashed China’s imports of U.S. soy.

In a positive sign on Tuesday, China also approved five genetically modified crops for import, the first in about 18 months, which could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the U.S. to open its markets to more farm goods.

The market also remained focused on poor weather in South America, where hot and dry conditions have prompted some forecasters to begin trimming forecasts for Brazilian crops.

“We had a four-day bull run in soybeans. With the bullish points out there with the downgrades to the Brazilian soybean forecast and the China-U.S. trade talks, traders are just taking a break,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

Traders are also staying cautious as high tariffs on U.S. crop shipments to China remain in place, he said.

Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans settled down 5-3/4 cents at $9.18-1/2 a bushel after failing to break through chart resistance at its 200-day moving average for a second day.

March corn fell 2-1/4 cents to $3.80 a bushel. CBOT March wheat scaled to a near three-week high and ended a penny higher at $5.17-3/4 a bushel.

Growing hopes of more U.S. export sales underpinned wheat.

“Russian wheat is now getting more expensive following the country’s export surge in recent months. Russia was the cheapest wheat in the world but that has changed,” said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager with INTL FCStone.

There is a major purchase tender in the market from Algeria but this is likely to be largely French business.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.

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