January soybeans opened 12 cents higher on the day at 1251 and established an early range of 1249 to 1258 1/4. After trading mostly higher overnight, January soybeans gained ground late in that session and into the start of the day session. Prices then eased into mid morning. This came as the USDA announced a fresh sale of 780,000 tonnes of soybeans to China this morning. The big and unexpected sale is for delivery during the 2010/11 marketing year and traders said that this helped boost prices. This followed the release of the Census Crush data for October which was considered supportive for soybean oil due to a much lower than expected oil stocks total at 3.236 billion pounds. Traders said that this helped boost soy oil futures which gained on meal in the January contracts in the early going. The October soybean crush was 157.21 million bushels, a bit below trade expectations, and meal stocks at the end of October were higher than expected at 516,531 tonnes. Soy oil was also supported this morning by strong export sales data for Malaysian palm oil for the first 3 weeks of November. Basis levels for soybeans at the Gulf were weak this morning despite the China news. Traders said this may have been due to higher futures as traders stand aside ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Bids in the interior were steady to firm. Recent rains in the Argentine soybean belt are expected to boost planting progress after recent dryness, but observers there are still concerned about La Nina dryness that is being predicted on into the growing season.