GRAINS-Wheat, corn extend multi-day losses; soybeans firm
* Wheat retreats to 5-month low, extends slide to 5 days
* Corn follows wheat lower, down for 6th straight session
* Trade disappointed by export demand for US corn, wheat
* Nearby soy buoyed by robust exports; deferred months fall
(Releads with grains falling; updates prices, adds comments) CHICAGO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Wheat futures extended a five-session decline and set a fresh five-month low on Thursday while corn futures fell for a sixth day as technical selling and sluggish export demand weighed on both markets. Nearby soybean futures were higher on strong export demand but pared early gains as grains sagged. At the Chicago Board of Trade as of 12:35 p.m. CST (1835 GMT), March wheat was down 5-1/2 cents at $8.06-1/2 per bushel after falling to $8.01-1/2, dropping below its 200-day moving average for the first time since June 22. CBOT March corn was down 6 cents at $7.19-1/2 bushel after hitting $7.15, near long-term chart support at $7.14-1/2.
"You've got year-end liquidation going on, and very little enthusiasm. And the biggest problem with corn and wheat is the fact that nobody buys your product," said Mark Schultz, chief market analyst with Northstar Commodity Investment Co, referring to export demand. In a weekly report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday reported export sales of U.S. corn in the latest week at 272,600 tonnes for the current and next marketing year, within a range of trade estimates for 100,000 to 300,000 tonnes. However, analysts said export commitments for U.S. corn thus far in marketing year 2012/13 are the lowest in USDA records dating to 1987. Of the weekly corn sales, Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions, said, "We expected they'd be pretty pitiful, and they were." USDA reported weekly export sales of U.S. wheat at 573,400 tonnes, above trade estimates for 350,000 to 550,000 tonnes. But after a brief rally following the export data, CBOT wheat retreated and continued a slide that began last week in anticipation of USDA's Dec. 11 monthly crop report. USDA in that report raised its estimates of U.S. and global wheat ending stocks above trade expectations. For the week, CBOT March wheat has lost more than 6 percent in value, on track for its biggest weekly decline since June.
STRONG EXPORT SALES LIFT SOYBEANS CBOT January soybeans were up 6 cents at $14.79-1/2 per bushel but pared gains since briefly rising above their 50-day moving average of $14.89. The contract has not settled above that average since Sept. 19. Soybeans rallied after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a weekly report showing export sales of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at more than 1.3 million tonnes, well above trade expectations for 600,000 to 850,000 tonnes. "We are using soybeans faster than we had anticipated," said Karl Setzer, a commodity trading adviser and market analyst with MaxYield Cooperative in West Bend, Iowa. He noted that the USDA lowered its forecast of U.S. soybean ending stocks for 2012/13 in a monthly report this week to 130 million bushels, a nine-year low. "Quite likely, we are going to see that drop even more in the future," Setzer said. Exporters have been competing for U.S. soybean supplies with domestic soy processors, which have benefited from historically high profit margins from crushing soybeans into soymeal, a high-protein feed ingredient, and soyoil, used in foods and biodiesel. The National Oilseed Processors Association is scheduled to release its estimate of the November U.S. soybean crush on Friday. The average estimate for the crush among analysts surveyed by Reuters was 157.3 million bushels, above NOPA's October figure of 153.5 million bushels, which was its highest monthly crush in nearly three years. Deferred soybean contracts were lower, pressured by improving crop weather in South America. Brazil is projected to surpass the United States in 2012/13 as the world's biggest soybean producer.
Prices at 12:28 p.m. CST (1828 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 719.00 -6.50 -0.9% 11.2% CBOT soy 1479.50 6.00 0.4% 23.4% CBOT meal 455.20 3.20 0.7% 47.1% CBOT soyoil 49.31 -0.23 -0.5% -5.3% CBOT wheat 806.00 -6.00 -0.7% 23.5% CBOT rice 1551.50 17.00 1.1% 6.2% EU wheat 255.75 -5.50 -2.1% 26.3%US crude 86.44 -0.33 -0.4% -12.5% Dow Jones 13,193 -53 -0.4% 8.0% Gold 1695.46 -16.09 -0.9% 8.4% Euro/dollar 1.3072 0.0000 0.0% 1.0% Dollar Index 79.9290 0.1140 0.1% -0.3% Baltic Freight 799 -27 -3.3% -54.0%
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz and Valerie Parent in Paris and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson, Chris Gallagher, Jane Baird and Marguerita Choy)