LONDON: Chicago soybean futures eased slightly on Thursday amid a strengthening dollar as the market stepped back from the previous session’s near one-week top, though demand for U.S. beans kept a floor under the market.
U.S. wheat dipped for a second straight session but losses were limited by forecasts of lower output in Europe, while corn prices were little changed.
The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 0.4 percent at $8.54 a bushel as of 1046 GMT, after rising for three consecutive sessions to touch their highest since July 11 on Wednesday.
Trade conflict between the U.S. and China had been driving down Chicago soybean futures but a slight recovery this week has been linked to hopes that lower prices will stimulate demand.
“U.S. soybeans have done enough to make shipments viable to China with 25 percent duty,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.
“China has not bought U.S. beans yet but they will have to step in by September-October.
Chinese buyers have booked soybeans from Brazil, instead of the United States, because of a 25 percent tariff on imports of U.S. soy that Beijing enacted on July 6.
China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans have triggered bargain shopping by importers in other countries stocking up on cheap U.S. supplies.
More buying emerged on Thursday as the U.S. Department of Agriculture said exporters struck deals to sell 199,500 metric tonnes of U.S. soybeans to Pakistan for delivery in the 2018-19 marketing year.
Dealers said weekly export sales data, to be issued later on Thursday, would be closely watched.
“Operators hope that the recent drop in prices has made new interest in U.S. origins, particularly soybeans, in the 2018/2019 season,” Agritel said in a market note.
Trade estimates for U.S. soybean net export sales in the 2018/19 season for the week ended July 12 ranged from 100,000 to 500,000 tonnes. The report was due at 1230 GMT.
Chicago wheat futures were also lower with the most active contract down 0.4 percent at $4.92-1/2 a bushel.
A weak euro, however, underpinned European prices with December Paris-based milling wheat futures on Euronext up 0.3 percent at 188.25 euros a tonne.
Dealers also noted concerns about dry weather in the EU and declining harvest prospects in Russia, the world’s largest exporter of the grain.
Chicago corn futures were little changed; with the most active contract down a marginal 0.1 percent at $3.60-3/4 a bushel.