CHICAGO (Dow Jones) -- U.S. soybean futures are expected to open lower Friday, under pressure from renewed concerns over Chinese government policies.

Analysts project soybeans to open 13 cents to 15 cents lower on the Chicago Board of Trade. In overnight trading, the January future, the most active contract, was down 17 1/2 cents at $12.24 1/2 a bushel.

Reports that China would raise bank reserve requirements caused futures to stumble overnight as traders feared the move was the start of further monetary policy tightening in the coming weeks, said Don Roose, president U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

China's central bank said Friday it will raise banks' reserve requirement ratio by 0.50 percentage point from Nov. 29, the fifth hike this year, to strengthen liquidity management and control credit.

The general concern in the US soybean futures market is the tightening of liquidity requirements will put more investment money on the sidelines, slowing economic growth and import demand in China.

China is the world's largest importer of soybeans and accounted for over 60% of total U.S. soy export sales through the first 10 weeks of the 2010-11 marketing year.

Yet some analysts said China's inflation-fighting measures won't hurt import needs, as China's growing meat consumption will drive demand for soybeans regardless of steps the government takes.

Helping to fuel the declines overnight were traders selling positions to book profits after Thursday's strong gains, reducing risk exposure ahead of the weekend and next week's shortened trading week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Also an announcement by CME Group Inc. (CME), which is parent company of the Chicago Board of Trade, that it is raising margin requirements on soybean and soyoil futures will encourage traders to reduce positions in the market as well, since it will require a larger outlay of money to keep existing holdings.

Yet prices will continue to find support from tight supplies and strong global demand, and the uncertainty of South America's soybean crop, Roose said.

"The market is effectively pulling prices back to see if demand picks up," he added.

-By Andrew Johnson Jr.; Dow Jones Newswires; 312-347-4604; andrew.johnsonjr@dowjones.com