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Morning markets: upbeat China data loses its bullish powers

The, generally upward, direction which markets found in the last session waned on Friday, leaving more the kind of drift which might be expected in the absence of influence from the US.

The boost to assets from positive Chinese factory data waned, leaving something of a void before the US comes back online, in a reduced form, later.

(On the Chicago Board of Trade, agricultural commodities will trade shortened hours, although New York softs are already trading again.)

Japanese markets were closed on Friday.

Against that background, crops showed something of a mixed picture.

'Support only short-term'

They were generally firm in China, continuing to receive support from the HSBC survey showing growth in the country's manufacturing sector for the first time in 13 months.

Corn for May added 0.6% to 2,440 yuan a tonne, and the soybean complex gained across the board, although there are doubts about how long gains will last, given negative margins among crushers.

"China's plans to stockpile soybeans in order to raise income for its farmers will provide some support but only in the short term," Lynette Tan at Phillip Futures said.

"Demand for livestock," the main consumer of soymeal, one of the two main products, with soyoil, derived from processing soybeans, "is likely to decrease after the festive Chinese New Year in early February next year".

Still, for now, soybeans for May added 0.6% to 4,773 yuan a tonne, soyoil 0.2% to 8,548 yuan a tonne and soymeal 1.4% to 3,234 yuan a tonne.

Palm down, again

In Kuala Lumpur, February palm oil, soyoil's main rival in the vegetable oil complex, and an alternative for many uses, shed 1.0% to 2,386 ringgit a tonne as of 08:45 UK time.

That left palm oil on course for a third successive lower close, although it remains some way above last week's three-year low of 2,220 ringgit a tonne.

The vegetable oil continues to be undermined by weak Malaysian exports so far this month, as revealed by cargo surveyor data, questioning ideas that lower prices would spark demand.

Mixed softs

In New York, cotton for December returned from its Thanksgiving holiday a little sluggish, easing 0.3% to 72.19 cents a pound.

The contract lacked the chutzpah, for now at least, to take on key technical resistance levels, with the 50-day moving average at 72.56 cents a pound, and the 100-day at 73.03 cents a pound.

However, raw sugar for March bounced 1.2% to 19.88 cents a pound, gaining better support from a weaker dollar - whose decline makes dollar-denominated exports more affordable and from a firm performance by London white sugar on Thursday.

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