Soybeans Drop as Rains to Help Revive U.S. Midwest Crops

Soybeans declined to the lowest price in more than a week as rains forecast in the Midwest may help revive parched crops in the largest U.S. growing region. Corn and wheat also fell.

Parts of Iowa have chances of rain starting tonight, with showers moving into Illinois later in the week, National Weather Service data show. Areas of both states, the largest U.S. corn and soybean growers, had less than 25 percent of normal rain in the past 30 days. Only 24 percent of corn and 29 percent of soybeans were in good or excellent condition July 29, the worst since 1988, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which updates its crop ratings today.

“The forecast rains in the U.S. Midwest this week are putting downward pressure on prices,” Toshimitsu Kawanabe, an analyst at broker Central Shoji Co., said by phone from Tokyo today. “Investors are also awaiting the monthly USDA report,” he said, referring to the agricultural supply and demand estimate due on Aug. 10 in Washington.

Soybeans for November delivery fell 2 percent to $15.96 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade as of 1:25 p.m. London time, after earlier touching $15.7575, the lowest price since July 27. Futures surged to a record $16.915 a bushel on July 23 as drought threatened supplies in the U.S.

Corn for December delivery fell 0.7 percent to $8.02 a bushel, down 2.3 percent since reaching a record $8.205 July 31.

U.S. corn production may tumble 13 percent this year to 10.792 billion bushels, less than the USDA’s current forecast of 12.97 billion, according to Doane Advisory Services Co. Soybean output may total 2.725 billion bushels, below a USDA estimate of 3.05 billion bushels, the St. Louis-based researcher said.

Export Sales

U.S. export sales of grain and oilseeds have slowed in recent weeks as prices rose, USDA data show. Soybean processors in China, the world’s biggest importer, are turning to the government for cheaper supply, state-researcher said. Chinese soybean crushers will actively participate in sales of government stockpiles of soybeans, including the 400,000 metric tons set for auction on Aug. 16, it said.

Wheat for December delivery slid 0.4 percent to $9 a bushel in Chicago. In Paris, November-delivery milling wheat dropped 0.6 percent to 259.50 euros ($321.26) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Russia exported about 2.1 million tons of grain last month, according to Rusagrotrans, the country’s biggest grain rail carrier. July shipments exceeded Rusagrotrans’ expectations for 1.6 million tons, Igor Pavensky, the company’s head of analytics, said by e-mail. While Russia’s main grain growing areas have been hit by drought this year, the government has said there’s no need for export restrictions.

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