U.S. soybean futures are expected to start Monday's day session mixed, with nearby contracts drifting lower on slowing demand and a firm U.S. dollar.
In overnight trading, Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures, the most active contract was 3/4 cent lower at $14.15 1/4 a bushel. New crop November futures were up 1 1/2 cents at $13.81. Analysts expected old crop contracts to open 1-2 cents lower and new crop futures to begin 1-2 cents higher.
Weaker cash basis levels, demand shifting to South America and a firmer U.S. dollar are combining to weigh on prices for nearby delivery.
"Prices have come under pressure amid the aggressive harvest of a record Brazil soy crop, allowing more soybeans to enter the world pipeline," said Don Roose, president of Iowa based brokerage U.S. Commodities.
More demand is shifting to South America in general, particularly with freshly harvested Brazil soybeans cheaper than U.S. supplies, Roose added. Brazil and Argentina are the world's second- and third-largest producers of soybeans behind the U.S. and are counted on to relieve the strain on U.S. supplies amid strong global demand.
The strength of the U.S. dollar is expected to lend further pressure to prices, but tight projected end of year supplies and the need for soy prices to remain competitive with corn and cotton to secure enough 2011 acres to replenish depleted supplies is seen limiting declines.
Insufficient increases in acreage will require higher-than normal crop yields come summer, if another year of tight supply is to be avoided. The uncertainty of 2011 acreage is supporting new crop futures, represented by the November contract.
A higher U.S. dollar is bearish for commodities as most raw materials are dollar-denominated, making it more expensive for foreign buyers to import.
Nevertheless, strong global demand will continue to attract end user buying on price breaks, keeping the market chopping around until a clear understanding of 2011 acreage is established.
Demand from China, the world's top soybean buyer helped push soybean futures to two-year highs previously on concerns that strong demand from China was draining U.S. supplies.
On tap for Monday, U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue their long term baseline projections ahead of their annual Outlook Forum scheduled for the following week, which is the next piece of information the trade will focus on.
Even though the baseline data was prepared in November for budget purposes, the market is curious to see what the USDA is anticipating for the future, said Roose. The data are a warm up for the Outlook Forum, he added.
The Outlook Forum will offer the first glimpse at the USDA's 2011-12 supply and demand projections, with particular attention paid to the USDA's 2011 acreage estimates.