-U.S. soybean futures are expected to begin Friday's day session slightly lower on light profit-taking ahead of the weekend, but two-sided price action is expected as tight supplies underpin.
Analysts project soybeans to open 2 cents to 3 cents lower on the Chicago Board of Trade. In overnight trading, March soybeans, the most active contract, was down 2 1/4 cents at $13.97 1/4 a bushel.
Traders are expected to book some profits on advances of the past two days, with mixed, choppy overnight trading providing an indication of potential price action.
Favorable soybean crop conditions in Brazil and improved weather in Argentina are helping to weigh on the market, according to a Doane Advisory Service market note.
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.
Argentina saw spotty rains over the past 24 hours, though the main corn and soybean areas have chances for more showers through the weekend, with temperatures warm but not excessively hot, Bryce Knorr, an analyst with Farm Futures, wrote in a market note.
Nevertheless, the market remains underpinned by precariously tight projected end of year supplies, with higher-than expected export and crush demand reported in government reports Thursday, keeping traders focused on rationing soybean usage.
The market is also drawing some support from an Argentina workers strike. The strike is raising fears that a prolonged disruption of Argentina's grain movement may limit the country's ability to aggressively market its crops and potentially shift some demand to the U.S.
News Thursday of workers in Argentina disrupting the access to some crushing facilities in the interior raise doubts about Argentina's reliability as a soybean and product supplier, according to Doane Advisory Service.
Meanwhile, the looming week-long Lunar New Year holidays in China are seen slowing demand from the world's leading importer of soybeans.
U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that private exporters reported the sale of 110,000 metric tons of soybeans to China for delivery in the 2011-12 marketing year that begins Sept. 1.