Soybean futures tumbled the most in five weeks after China, the world’s largest consumer, canceled purchases from the U.S. Corn also declined.
Exporters said 420,000 metric tons of soybeans registered for delivery before Sept. 1 were canceled, including 300,000 tons to China, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported today in a statement. The U.S. was the world’s largest grower and shipper last year.
“The Chinese cancellations are driving people out of the market and raising fears of a slowdown in U.S. exports,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview.
Soybean futures for March delivery slid 1.9 percent to close at $14.605 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest drop since Nov. 12. Yesterday, the price touched $15.0125, the highest since Nov. 8. Still, the most-active futures have gained 21 percent this year after a drought in the U.S. reduced output and prompted concern that global supplies will fall short of growing demand from China.
Prices also slipped on signs that wet weather will aid crops in South America. As much as 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain will improve soil moisture for plant growth in Paraguay and most of Brazil during the next two weeks, while delaying planting in Argentina, the Commodity Weather Group LLC said in a report.
Corn futures for March delivery declined 0.6 percent to $7.20 a bushel in Chicago. The price has gained 11 percent in 2012 after drought cut U.S. production to a six-year low. The grain reached a record $8.49 on Aug. 10.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.