March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans fell in Chicago from the highest close in more than four weeks as the harvest speeds up in Brazil, expected to produce a record crop of the oilseed.
Brazilian farmers collected about 48 percent of the harvest as of March 8, against 46 percent a year earlier, researcher Safras & Mercado said in a report yesterday. Brazil, expected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest exporter, may produce a record 83.5 million metric tons of soybeans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said March 8. U.S. soybeans inspected for export in the week to March 7 slid 58 percent from a week earlier to 17 million bushels, the USDA said yesterday.
Slowing U.S. export inspections are "a sign that Brazilian beans may be starting to extract market share," Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a report today.
Soybeans for delivery in May slid 0.6 percent to $14.71 a bushel by 6:47 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures closed yesterday at $14.795, the highest since Feb. 7. Corn for the same delivery month declined 0.1 percent to $7.1025 a bushel. Trading volume was 34 percent lower than the 100-day average for that time of day.
Wheat for delivery in May fell 0.4 percent to $6.97 a bushel. In Paris, milling wheat futures for the same delivery month dropped 0.4 percent to 232.50 euros ($302.53) a ton on NYSE Liffe.
Wheat declined 10 percent this year in Chicago and 6.5 percent in Paris on speculation snowstorms in the U.S. Great Plains eased drought conditions, improving prospects for dormant winter wheat. Areas of northern Texas, Oklahoma, southern Kansas and Nebraska had more than twice the normal precipitation in the past 30 days, National Weather Service data show.
"The drought situation here in the U.S. has been mitigated in the course of the past several weeks," economist Dennis Gartman said in his daily Gartman Letter. "The situation remains disconcerting, and for many farmers disastrous, but it has not worsened and indeed in most areas has gotten decidedly better."
Winter-wheat crops in Kansas, the biggest U.S. grower, were rated 27 percent good or excellent in the week ended March 10, up from 24 percent a week earlier, the USDA said yesterday. Fields in Oklahoma also improved while conditions in Texas were unchanged.
--With assistance from Fabiola Moura in Sao Paulo. Editors: Dan Weeks, Sharon Lindores.