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Soybean price firms on talk of China crop loss

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An estimate that frost had wiped out about 20% of China's soybean crop helped prices of the oilseed firm in Chicago, accelerating doubts of a freeze in the US kept corn under pressure.

Tian Renli, the chairman and general manager of Jiusan Oils and Grains Industry Group, said he expected frost to have cut soybean output in China's Heilongjiang province by about 3m tonnes, leaving it at 5m tonnes.

The company is the biggest soybean crusher in Heilongjiang, the biggest bean-growing province in China, which Washington currently expects to harvest 15.0m tonnes of soybeans this year, with the China National Grains and Oils Centre forecasting a 14.5m-tonne crop.

News that the US had sold 182,000 tonnes of soybeans to China added to positive sentiment, relaxing fears that Beijing was near taking its fill of imports for now.

Soybeans for November stood 1.5 cents higher at $9.54 ½ a bushel in Chicago at 17:15 GMT.

'No freeze threat in sight'

While a modest rise, it was a better performance than managed by corn, which slipped 5.5 cents to $3.23 ½ a bushel.

Hopes for a frost to wreak damage on the US crop, which currently looks set for a record yield, appeared to be weakening.

"The updated weather forecast doesn't contain any major changes either near or longer term," Vic Lespinasse at, said.

"There is still no freeze threat in sight for the Midwest for at least the next couple of weeks."

Wheat, meanwhile, was unchanged at $4.61 ¾ a bushel, outshone by its European counterparts, which were boosted by news of a near-20% drop in the UK harvest as well as a weaker pound.

Cocoa in demand

Among softs, cocoa grabbed headlines by hitting a fresh 14-month peak in New York, although traders still appeared to view the rally as based, for now, on technical reasons rather than fundamental ones.

Concerns over production falling below demand for a fourth year had not been expected by Rabobank to kick in until next year.

December cocoa stood up $39 at $3,113 a tonne in New York, and closed up £41 at £2,018 a tonne in London.


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