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Morning markets: soybeans hit fresh nine-month top

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Soybeans set a fresh nine-month high at the start of a week expected to bring a cut to official US estimates of its stockpile of the commodity.

Inputs from external markets were mixed on Monday. Tokyo shares closed up 1% at their highest for eight months.

But oil, which hit a seven-month high on Friday, lost ground, a decline blamed on profit taking. New York light crude for July dropped $0.91 to $67.53 a barrel, with Brent slipping $0.87 to $67.47 a barrel.

Chicago soybeans looked on the bright side, hitting $12.39 3/4 a bushel, its best since early September last year, in electronic trading before edging back a touch to $12.30 a bushel by 06:30 GMT, up 4.5 cents on the day.

Soybeans continue to be supported by a market squeeze reflecting strong Chinese demand at a time when Argentina's output has been hurt by drought.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Agriculture will release its latest world supply and demand estimates for major crops, which traders expect to show a fall in soybean stocks as low as 100m bushels from its last forecast of 130m bushels.

'All kinds of numbers'

Soybeans' vegetable oil rival, palm oil, was also a touch firmer in Kuala Lumpur, adding 2 ringgit to 2,522 ringgit a tonne for the benchmark August contract.

Palm oil too faces key data on Wednesday, from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, which will release its latest stocks, output and exports data.

"The market is quiet, looking for any leads pertaining to production and stocks," a trader said.

"There are all kinds of numbers flying about, it's hard to tell what the end result will be."

Wheat slips

However, back in Chicago, other main crops took more of a lead from oil with corn, a major feedstock for biofuels, easing 1 cents to $4.43 a bushel for July delivery, and new crop contracts equally uninspired.

Wheat distanced itself further from the eight-month highs reached last week, dropped 2 cents to $6.21 a bushel.

By Mike Verdin

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