Investing.com - U.S. grain futures ended Friday's session broadly lower, with soybean prices tumbling to the weakest level since June amid concerns over sluggish demand for U.S. supplies from top consumer China.
Corn and wheat prices also came under pressure, falling to the lowest levels since July as indications of slowing demand for U.S. supplies weighed on the grains complex.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, soybeans for March delivery tumbled 1.5% Friday to settle at USD13.6575 a bushel by close of trade. The March contract fell to a low of USD13.5612 a bushel earlier in the day, the cheapest level since June 6.
Soy futures ended the holiday-shortened week with a loss off 3.65%, the third consecutive weekly decline. Markets were closed on Tuesday, New Year's Day.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that China cancelled orders for approximately 315,000 tonnes of soybeans for delivery this marketing year.
The announcement follows China's cancellation of purchases totaling 840,000 tonnes in the week of December 16.
China is the world's largest soybean consumer. The Asian nation imports 60% of soybeans shipped around the world.
Expectations for bumper crops in major South American soy growers, Brazil and Argentina also added to the selling pressure. The countries will harvest their crops during the next three to four months.
Brazil and Argentina are the world's second and third biggest soy exporters, trailing only the U.S. Large crop prospects in those countries could weigh on demand for U.S. supplies.
Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, corn futures for March delivery slumped 1.35% Friday to settle the week at USD6.8038 a bushel. Earlier in the day, corn futures fell to USD6.7988 a bushel, the lowest level since July 2.
The March corn contract declined 1.8% on the week, the fifth straight weekly drop.
Corn prices have lost almost 10% since the start of December, as worries over slowing overseas demand for supplies from the U.S. have weighed on sentiment.
Meanwhile, wheat for March delivery fell 0.85% Friday to settle at USD7.4888 a bushel by close of trade. Earlier in the day, prices fell to a session low of USD7.3988 a bushel, the weakest level since July 2.
On the week, the March wheat contract lost 4.65%, the fifth consecutive weekly decline.
Export sales of all classes of U.S. wheat totaled 402.439 metric tons in the week ended December 27, down 60% from a week earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Wheat prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks, losing nearly 13% since the beginning of December, as technical selling and concerns over poor export demand weighed on sentiment.
In the week ahead, corn and soybean traders will continue to pay close attention to weather forecasts for grain-growing regions in Brazil and Argentina, while wheat traders will monitor temperatures in the Great Plains-region.
Market players will also focus on the USDA's weekly crop progress report on Monday as well as Thursday's weekly exports data.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.
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