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Soybeans Slide to 6-Week Low as U.S. Planting Accelerates

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May 14 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans fell to a six-week low on speculation that U.S. production will increase as planting accelerates in the Midwest. Corn and wheat also dropped.

About 24 percent of the U.S. soybean crop was sown as of May 6, ahead of the previous five-year average of 11 percent, Department of Agriculture data show. The USDA will update its crop progress report today. U.S. soybean output may total 3.205 billion bushels, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier, the USDA said May 10. Rains in the Midwest will be normal to below normal in the next five days, according to AccuWeather Inc.

“We continued to see pretty good planting last week, so everyone is looking for that to continue to accelerate,” Erin FitzPatrick, an analyst at Rabobank International, said by telephone from London today. “We do need good plantings and conditions for soybean production to get to the numbers the USDA is looking at now.”

Soybeans for July delivery fell 1.8 percent to $13.8075 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 1:15 p.m. London time Earlier the price touched $13.76, the lowest for a most-active contract since March 30.

Speculators cut bullish bets in soybeans by 9.3 percent in the week ended May 8 to 230,328 futures and options contracts, after net-long positions in the previous week were the highest since at least 2006, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Money managers cut net-long positions across a basket of 18 commodities by the most since November as Greece struggled to form a new government and concern mounted about China’s growth.

‘Risk-Off’ Trade

“There is a little more of a risk-off trade in the broader markets, and that is pushing commodity markets lower,” FitzPatrick said. “If we continue to see an exit from commodities, that would have implications on prices that are not being driven by underlying fundamentals.”

July-delivery corn was unchanged at $5.81 a bushel, after earlier sliding as much as 0.8 percent. Wheat for the same delivery month fell 0.5 percent to $5.9425 a bushel in Chicago. In Paris, November-delivery milling wheat declined 0.9 percent to 194.50 euros ($250.13) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.

On ICE Futures U.S. in New York, corn for July settlement traded at $5.83 a bushel, while July soybeans were at $13.7725 and December wheat was at $6.3275. All three contracts traded for the first time today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net; Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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