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Soybeans Fall as Slow Economic Growth May Curb Demand

(Corrects export sale total in sixth paragraph in story first published yesterday.)

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans fell to the lowest in more than a week on concern that demand will slow as economic growth cools from China to Europe. Corn rose for the first time this week on speculation lower prices may spur overseas demand.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 commodities fell to a two-week low after London-based Markit Economics reported a slip in European manufacturing. A preliminary measure of Chinese industrial activity also decreased. Soybeans have risen 15 percent in the past three months as hot, dry weather damaged crops in South America, boosting demand for U.S. supply.

“Commodity headwinds getting stiffer” will reduce demand for oilseeds after this year’s rally, Richard Feltes, the vice president of research for Chicago-based R.J. O’Brien & Associates, said in a note to clients today.

Soybean futures for May delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $13.495 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $13.385, the lowest since March 13.

Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.4 percent to $6.445 a bushel in Chicago, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8 percent.

The grain climbed after the government said U.S. exporters sold 862,143 metric tons in the week ended March 15, up 3.1 percent from a week earlier even as prices rose to a five-month high on March 19, Jeff Thompson, a grain broker for ABN Amro Clearing LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.

Speculation that China, the second-largest producer, may need to increase imports to contain rising domestic prices also supported the market, Thompson said. Corn in China rose to a record last week.

The U.S. was the largest exporter of both crops in the year that ended Sept. 30, according to government estimates. Soybean production in the U.S. was valued last year at $35.8 billion, second to corn, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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