April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean futures fell in Chicago and corn slid the most in more than a week on concern Chinese demand will weaken amid slower-than-estimated economic growth and an outbreak of avian flu in the country.
China, the world’s biggest soybean buyer, may cut imports of the oilseed for the first time since 2004, according to a Bloomberg survey of crushers and analysts today. Feed demand will decline after the H7N9 flu virus caused 60 human infections and 13 deaths, while the discovery of about 11,000 pig carcasses in a river in Shanghai last month created an environmental scare that pressured hog prices. Chinese economic growth in the first quarter trailed analyst expectations, figures showed today.
"Soybeans are under pressure from China’s dwindling import dynamism," Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a report e-mailed today.
Soybeans for delivery in July declined 0.6 percent to $13.7075 a bushel at 7:33 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The contract rallied 2.6 percent last week. Corn for the same delivery month dropped 1.6 percent, the contract’s biggest retreat since April 4, to $6.3125 a bushel.
The bird-flu outbreak is cutting Chinese corn prices as poultry and egg consumption fell into a "valley" and pork demand is low, state-owned researcher Grain.gov.cn said in an e- mailed statement today. China’s economy expanded at a 7.7 percent annual rate in the quarter, less than the 8 percent pace analysts expected in a Bloomberg survey and slower than the 7.9 percent rate in the previous quarter.
In the U.S., soybean crushing by 12 companies in the National Oilseed Processors Association, or NOPA, probably fell 2.1 percent to 137.645 million bushels in March from a year earlier, based on the average estimate of eight analysts in a Bloomberg survey. NOPA, which represents processors with 62 plants in 19 states, is due to release its estimates today.
Wheat for delivery in July slid 2.1 percent to $7.0475 a bushel. In Paris, milling wheat for delivery in November dropped 0.9 percent to 213 euros ($278) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.
About two-thirds of wheat-growing areas in the U.S. Great Plains may receive precipitation by April 17, and declining temperatures later this week probably won’t be cold enough to damage most crops, Commodity Weather Group said today in a report. Weather will warm this week in Europe and the former Soviet Union, helping accelerate wheat growth, it said.
--With assistance from Jeff Wilson in Chicago and William Bi in Beijing. Editors: Dan Weeks, Sharon Lindores.
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