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Soybeans Drop as Debt-Crisis Concerns Eclipse China’s Purchases

Soybeans fell from a 20-week high in Chicago as European leaders remained divided over a bailout for Greece, overshadowing indications demand is set to remain steady in China, the biggest importer.

Global stocks slid and the euro weakened after a decision slated for yesterday on Greek aid was postponed to Feb. 20. China signed agreements yesterday valued at $4.3 billion to buy 8.62 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans during a five-day visit by Vice President Xi Jinping.

“It’s broader markets, not fundamentals,” that are pushing prices lower, Erin FitzPatrick, an analyst at Rabobank International in London, said by phone. “There have been strong U.S. bean sales this week and not much improvement to Brazilian weather.”

Soybeans for May delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $12.6175 a bushel by 1:15 p.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. The oilseed yesterday reached $12.765, the highest price for a most-active contract since Sept. 27. Brazil is the world’s second-biggest soybean exporter after the U.S.

The delay in the Greek rescue “is negative for risk assets, which includes commodities,” Adam Davis, a trader at Merricks Capital Services Pty Ltd., said by e-mail. Soybeans need “a fresh catalyst to go much higher” after yesterday touching a level at which sell orders may be clustered, he said.

Corn for May delivery declined 0.4 percent to $6.2875 a bushel. The grain slid for a third day and has lost 1.6 percent this month.

Wheat for delivery in May dropped 0.2 percent to $6.33 a bushel. The grain fell for a seventh session in eight. Milling wheat for delivery the same month traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris declined 0.5 percent to 204.50 euros ($265.87) a ton.

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