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Corn Down on Technical Selling, Improved S.American Weather

  • Weekend rains reach Argentine crops
  • Algerian tender again open to Russian wheat

CHICAGO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures fell nearly 2% on Monday and corn futures also declined on a mix of technical selling after last week's advances and improving prospects for South American production, analysts said.

Wheat futures turned higher on bargain-buying after dipping to a six-week low on Friday.

As of 1:10 p.m. CST (1910 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans were down 22-3/4 cents at $12.45 per bushel and March corn was down 5 cents at $5.85 a bushel. CBOT March wheat was up 6 cents at $7.91-1/4 a bushel.

Soybeans had notched a two-week high on Friday.

Brokers noted beneficial weekend rains in Argentina's crop belt that should bolster production prospects there.

"We stalled because of the better-than-expected moisture in some of the dry areas of South America. And it's position-squaring in corn and soybeans in a holiday trade environment," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

Commodity funds hold a net long position in both CBOT corn and soybean futures heading into the end of the year, a factor that leaves the markets prone to bouts of long liquidation if funds book profits, Roose noted.

Also, the soybean harvest is approaching in portions of Brazil, the world's top supplier of the oilseed, a factor that threatens export demand for U.S. soy supplies and may spur cash sales by U.S. farmers.

"We are moving closer to some kind of competition," Roose said.

Export shipments of U.S. soybeans slowed in the latest week, although corn exports increased.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported weekly soybean export inspections at 1.724 million tonnes, a three-week low that fell below a range of trade expectations for 1.9 million to 2.3 million tonnes. Corn inspections reached 810,395 tonnes, a four-week high that was in line with expectations.

CBOT wheat futures advanced, with the benchmark March contract bouncing after a drop to $7.68 a bushel on Friday, its lowest since Oct. 28.

"Technically we were oversold," Roose said.

Algeria's state grains agency tendered to buy milling wheat and retained quality specifications favourable to offers of Russian wheat, European traders said. Algeria is a major market for EU wheat exporters, especially France and Germany.

Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Emily Chow in Beijing; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Barbara Lewis

Source: Reuters

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