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Easter caution pops commodities' balloon

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Agricultural commodities struggled to hold to early gains as traders booked profits heading into the extended holiday weekend.

A US Department of Agriculture report viewed as offering something for most bulls sent prices rocketing in early US trade. A USDA forecast that global soybean production would fall to a five-year low sent Chicago's May contract 24.75 cents higher to $10.30 ¾ a bushel at one stage, a fresh two-month high.

However, profit-taking clawed soybeans back to $10.07 ½ a bushel by the close, dragging other commodities down with it.

Corn, which had edged up to $4.05 a bushel, closed down 5.5 cents at $3.91 ½ a bushel. Wheat fell from high of $5.43 ½ a bushel to close down 10 cents on the day at $5.22 a bushel.

'Very disappointing day'

"Just as we made the day's highs at the beginning of the day in most pits, we made the day's lows at, or close to, the day's finish," Vic Lespinasse at GrainAnalyst.com said.

"It was obviously a very disappointing day for the bulls, especially given all the bullishness in the air early this morning."

European traders had already detected the cooler breeze, sending London wheat £0.50 lower to £108.00 a tonne by the close, with Paris wheat down E0.25 at E136.00 a tonne.

Outside cereals, palm oil closed at a fresh six-month high of 2,269 ringgit a tonne, up 4.8% on the day helped by a firm oil price. US crude ended up $2.86 higher at $52.24 a barrel with Brent crude up $2.47 at $54.06.

And orange juice finished at its highest level for five months after the USDA forecast a 15.2% cut in America's production of Valencia oranges in the ongoing harvest.

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