Soybeans sink as weak China trade data stokes demand worry
* China's soybean imports notch first annual drop since 2011
* Weaker-than-expected China trade data rattles investors
* Wheat falls as Russia confirms export outlook
(Adds closing prices)
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures fell to a
1-1/2-week low on Monday on technical selling and on concerns
about demand from China as the world's top soy importer remains
locked in a tariff war with the United States.
Wheat also fell after Russia, the world's top supplier, left
its export forecast unchanged despite recent speculation that
supplies are dwindling.
Corn ended firm as spread traders bought corn and sold
soybeans or wheat.
Grain markets languished as Chinese trade figures dampened
demand sentiment and fueled concerns across financial markets
about an economic slowdown in China and beyond.
China's General Administration of Customs said December soy
imports in December fell 40 percent from the same month a year
earlier, the lowest for the month since December 2011.
Future Chinese demand for animal feed imports also remained
a concern due to the spread of African swine fever, which has
prompted culling of the hog herd and pressured Chinese soymeal
"The market doesn't like the African swine fever and it
likes even less the Chinese trade numbers," said Mike Zuzolo,
president of Global Commodity Analytics.
Losses in grain futures were limited, however, by concerns
about adverse growing weather for corn and soybeans in South
America, as well as continuing hopes of fresh Chinese purchases
during a 90-day truce for negotiations.
U.S. officials expect China's top trade negotiator to visit
Washington this month, signaling higher-level discussions are
likely to follow last week's talks in Beijing.
Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans fell 6-3/4 cents
to $9.03-1/2 a bushel after breaching chart support at several
key moving averages.
March corn held chart support at its 100-day moving
average and ended 1/4 cent higher at $3.78-1/2 a bushel.
CBOT March wheat shed 5-1/4 cents to $5.14-1/4 a
bushel, dropping below its 20- and 50-day moving averages.
Easing concerns about harsh cold in the U.S. Plains wheat
belt weighed on prices as farm fields in a large portion of the
region received several inches of snow over the weekend. The
snow cover should protect dormant crops as severely cold weather
hits the region this week.
Expectations that dwindling supplies in Russia would create
export demand for U.S. wheat had helped to push Chicago prices
higher on Friday. But export hopes were tempered on Monday by
confirmation of the Russian agriculture ministry's outlook for
2018-19 grain shipments.
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; editing by David Goodman and James
First Published: 2019-01-14 03:54:11
Updated 2019-01-14 22:11:15
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