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Morning markets: soy profit takers step in

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Traders blamed profit taking for a fallback in soybean prices on Thursday, taking its fellow vegetable oil maker, palm oil, with it.

External markets offered little support for farm commodities, with Tokyo shares closing down 0.9%, the dollar strengthening, and oil slipping back from a six-month high set on Wednesday.

New York crude for July was 0.7% lower at $61.63 a barrel at 07:10 GMT, with Brent crude dropping nearly to $60 a barrel before recovering some ground to stand 0.6% lower at $60.23 a barrel.

Chicago soybeans softened in Asian trading hours, with the July contract off 2.5 cents at $11.66 ½, if remaining with striking distance of an eight-month high.

"It is quite natural that profit-taking type of selling is coming in,” Genichiro Higaki, head of the proprietary fund management team, told Reuters, the news agency.

Short-term blip?

However he added that, with US soybean exports remaining strong, the “fundamentals are bullish”.

"Even without any further purchases by China, US ending [August] soy stocks will be very, very tight,” Mr Higaki said.

“The old-crop soy could gain little more from the current level, not today or tomorrow, but may be next week or in June.”

One factor which might put a dampener on prices, particularly of new crop contracts, is the prospect of farmers unable to get corn in the ground switching to soybeans.

US corn is still only 62% planted, compared with an average of 85% by mid-May, while it is still relatively early in the soybean sowing season.

Chicago corn for July was 2 cents higher at $4.28 a bushel, with wheat, which is only 50% planted for the spring crop, up 2.25 cents at $5.99 ¾ a bushel.

'Ships waiting'

In Kuala Lumpur, palm oil followed soybeans south, shedding 1.2% to 2,570 ringgit a tonne in morning trade for Bursa Malaysia’s benchmark July contract.

Besides soybean prices, palm was also hurt by fears that purchasers unable to get supplies would switch to alternative vegetable oil crops.

“There could be a reverse in trends. Demand is there but it will wilt if there is not enough supply,” a traders said.

“I have ships waiting at Malaysian ports but no palm oil to take away.”

By Mike Verdin

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