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News, North America

Soybeans lower on profit-taking; S. American rain

* Soybeans, corn tumble on improved weather

* Wheat extends fall after rally (New throughout; updates byline, dateline previously SINGAPORE/PARIS)

By Christopher Walljasper

CHICAGO, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Chicago soybean futures slid about 3% on Friday and corn futures briefly fell their daily limit as rains in key South American growing areas assuaged worries about global supply, overshadowing strong weekly U.S. export data.

Wheat futures tumbled nearly 4%.

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) most-active soybean contract was down 43 cents to $13.27-1/4 per bushel by 12:32 p.m. (1832 GMT), after dipping more than 4% to $13.12, the biggest drop for a most-active contract since Aug. 10, 2018.

Corn was down 20-1/2 cents at $5.03-3/4 per bushel after briefly falling its 25-cent limit. CBOT wheat dropped 24-1/4 cents to $6.36-1/2 per bushel.

Robust soybean exports failed to lend support. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales of old-crop U.S. soybeans in the week ended Jan. 14 at 1.818 million tonnes, above trade forecasts. New-crop sales were 831,000 tonnes, also beating expectations.

As well, the USDA through its daily reporting system confirmed private sales of another 136,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China.

“I think we have supportive fundamentals overall, but we’re lacking the news to feed it,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at StoneX. “That leaves us vulnerable to more significant correction.”

As harvest slowly begins in parts of Brazil, the timing and size of the South American crop could impact U.S. markets.

“South American harvest is going to be slow to really pick up steam, and that’s keeping the Chinese business flowing our way for a few extra weeks,” said Jack Scoville, market analyst at The Price Futures Group. “The fact that we’re lower encourages more sales.”

Argentine soybean and corn planting sped forward over the last week, helped by rain that moistened fields parched by months of dry weather, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said.

Corn continued lower, despite export sales of U.S. old-crop corn last week that topped expectations at 1.438 million tonnes.

Commodity funds hold a massive net long position in CBOT corn futures, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of long liquidation.

Wheat continued lower on weak exports, as the USDA reported U.S. wheat export sales in the week ended Jan. 14 at 329,700 tonnes, near the low end of trade forecasts.

“We’re not competing well enough on the world market, with the recent run-up,” said Suderman, noting that benchmark CBOT wheat hit a six-year high last week at $6.93 a bushel. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral and Sybille de La Hamaide Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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