Soybean futures tumbled to a six-week low after China, the world’s top importer, scrapped its third U.S. purchase in two weeks, while prospects improved for Brazil’s crop. Corn fell to the cheapest in six months.
China canceled 315,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery before Aug. 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. The Asian nation abandoned acquisitions of 1.155 million tons since Dec. 18. Yesterday, a unit of the USDA said Brazil’s harvest this year will jump 25 percent to a record 83 million tons, boosting exports 21 percent and overtaking the U.S. as the top shipper.
“The mindset is for bigger crops in Brazil to reduce Chinese demand for U.S. soybeans,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed-grain analyst at Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The market is adjusting to slowing demand.”
Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.4 percent to close at $13.865 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the oilseed, used to make animal feed, cooking oil and fuel, touched $13.725, the lowest for a most-active contract since Nov. 16.
The oilseed rose 17 percent in 2012 after drought cut production to a four-year low in the U.S.
Corn futures for March delivery declined 0.2 percent to $6.8925 bushel in Chicago. Earlier, the grain touched $6.85, the lowest since July 3. Last year, the price climbed 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.