Investing.com - U.S. grain prices ended Friday's session lower, with near-term soybean futures falling sharply as investors sold contracts to lock in gains from an impressive rally that took prices to a six-month high during the previous session.
On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, soybeans for July delivery tumbled 1.65% Friday to settle the week at USD14.4850 a bushel by close of trade.
Despite Friday's downbeat performance, the front-month July soy contract added 1.8% on the week, the third consecutive weekly advance.
On Thursday, July soy contract rallied to hit USD15.4637 a bushel, the strongest level since November 2, amid ongoing concerns over U.S. crop prospects and speculation demand from top consumer China will remain robust.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 24% of the U.S. soy crop was planted as of last week, significantly below the 71% planted in the same week a year earlier.
Prices found additional support after influential industry group Oil World said China's soybean imports will start increasing sizably from this month onward and jump 17% in the next season.
China is the world's largest soybean consumer, accounting for nearly 60% of global trade of the grain.
Meanwhile, corn futures for July delivery fell 0.8% on Friday to settle the week at USD6.5613 a bushel.
Corn prices came under pressure as investors locked in gains from a rally that took prices to a seven-week high of USD6.6962 a bushel on Thursday.
On the week, the benchmark July corn contract rose 0.45%.
The front-month July corn contract surged nearly 3% on Wednesday after the USDA said China had booked orders for 360,000 metric tons of corn for delivery in the 2013-14 marketing year.
Elsewhere on the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat for July delivery fell 1% on Friday to settle the week at USD6.9638 a bushel.
Wheat prices were lower on Friday after surging more than 2% on Thursday.
On the week, the July wheat contract rose 2%, the first weekly advance in three weeks.
Wheat futures remained supported amid concerns over U.S. crop prospects.
The USDA said that approximately 31% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was rated "good" to "excellent" as of last week, below the 58% recorded in the same week a year earlier.
Winter-wheat crops in "very poor" to "poor" conditions stood at 41%, compared to only 14% recorded in the same week a year earlier.
In the week ahead, corn and soybean traders will continue to pay close attention to weather forecasts for grain-growing regions in the U.S. Midwest, while wheat traders will monitor temperatures in the Great Plains-region.
CBOT markets will be closed Monday in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, followed by soybeans, government figures show. Wheat was fourth, behind hay.
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