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Soybeans Slump to Six-Week Low on South America Outlook

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Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean futures fell to a six-week low on speculation that South America will harvest a record crop this year and boost exports. Corn dropped.

A unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report that Brazil will harvest 83 million metric tons this year, surpassing the U.S. as the world’s largest grower and exporter. Rain expected in the next two weeks may boost yields in Brazil, while dry weather in Argentina firms muddy soils for farmers to finish planting, Overland Park, Kansas-based World Weather Inc. said.

“South American weather remains very conducive for reaching current USDA crop forecasts,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Harvesting is just beginning in Brazil and will increase available supplies.”

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 1.2 percent to close at $13.9225 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $13.8625, the lowest for a most-active contract since Nov. 20. In 2012, the oilseed rose 17 percent after drought cut U.S. production to the lowest in four years.

In Argentina, output may jump 34 percent to a record, the USDA said on Dec. 10.

Corn futures for March delivery fell 1.1 percent to $6.9075 a bushel in Chicago. Earlier, the price touched $6.8775, the lowest since Dec. 20. Last year, the grain advanced 8 percent, the fourth straight increase.

In the U.S., corn is the biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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