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Soybeans Drop on Slower Chinese Demand; Corn Gains; Wheat Falls

Soybeans fell to the lowest in almost five months on reports that China canceled previous purchases as improved planting progress in South America boosted potential for record crops. Corn rose and wheat declined.

China, the world’s biggest soybean consumer, canceled 10 cargoes totaling 600,000 metric tons, Commerzbank AG said today in an e-mailed report, citing the country’s National Grain and Oils Information Center. Rain followed by dry, warm weather will aid planting and early crop development the next two weeks in parts of Brazil as dry weather eases flooding in Argentina for sowing, World Weather Inc. said in a report.

“Reports of China canceling soybean imports put the market on the defensive,” Chad Henderson, the president of Prime Agricultural Commodities Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “Right now, there are fewer worries about the potential for record crops in South America.”

Soybean futures for January delivery dropped 1.3 percent to close at $13.8325 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $13.7225, the lowest since June 22. Prices, which reached a record $17.89 in September, fell 4.7 percent this week.

Corn futures for March delivery jumped 0.8 percent to $7.31 a bushel on the CBOT. Still, the grain slid 1.5 percent this week, the first drop in three weeks.

Wheat futures for March delivery retreated 0.9 percent to $8.5375 a bushel in Chicago. It was the sixth straight decline, the longest slump since September 2011.

The U.S. was the leading shipper of all three commodities last year. Corn is the biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show. Wheat is the fourth-largest at $14.4 billion, behind hay.

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