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Soybeans Drop as Brazil Harvest Estimate Raised on Yields

Soybeans fell for the first time in four sessions on speculation that Brazil, poised to become the world’s biggest exporter this year, may harvest a larger crop than forecast earlier.

INTL FCStone Inc. yesterday raised its projection for output in Brazil to 83.05 million metric tons from an estimate of 80.01 million tons in December, citing higher yield potential. The average of 23 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey forecasted the country’s harvest to reach a record 82.7 million tons, more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s December estimate at 82.5 million tons. The USDA is scheduled to update its outlook on Feb. 8.

“The Brazilian soybean harvest is gathering steam,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a report e-mailed today. “Argentinean weather is expected to improve later this month and prices are facing technical resistance.”

Soybeans for March delivery fell 0.8 percent to $14.84 a bushel by 6:51 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures touched $14.98 a bushel on Feb. 4, the highest level for a most-active contract since Dec. 17.

Corn for March delivery fell 0.6 percent to $7.2475 a bushel, heading for a fourth straight loss. About 5.35 million bushels of the grain were inspected for export in the week ended Jan. 31, the lowest since July 2003, the USDA said Feb. 4. U.S. stockpiles before the next harvest may be 616 million bushels, larger than last month’s USDA forecast at 602 million bushels, analysts said in the Bloomberg survey.

“Observers are expecting U.S. corn inventories to be higher at the end of the season than the USDA has so far assumed,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a report today. “This view is supported by recent disappointing demand figures.”

Wheat for delivery in March fell 0.5 percent to $7.5375 a bushel in Chicago. In Paris, milling wheat for May delivery dropped 0.7 percent to 241 euros ($326) a ton on NYSE Liffe. Rough rice for March delivery rose 0.1 percent to $16.16 per 100 pounds on the CBOT, after rallying to $16.29 yesterday, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 7, 2011.

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