GRAINS-U.S. soybeans dip ahead of active U.S. harvesting weekend
* Dry weather seen as favourable for U.S. harvest progress
* Traders await U.S. production data due in Nov. 8 report
* Wheat retreats on profit-taking
(Adds closing prices, crop-progress estimates, fund activity) CHICAGO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - U.S. grain and soybean futures dropped on Friday ahead of what is expected to be an active weekend of harvesting in the United States, the world's top crop producer. Projections that the U.S. harvest will continue to uncover larger-than-expected yields kept a lid on futures prices, despite robust export demand for corn and soy, analysts said. The large harvest is needed to replenish crop inventories that have been drained by strong demand after a severe drought slashed U.S. output last year. The soybean harvest should be nearly 80 percent complete by Monday and corn should be up to 60 percent complete, traders said. Soybeans were 63 percent harvested as of Oct. 20 and corn was 39 percent harvested. "Producers are in the final stretch for soybean harvest and weather looks good for combining," said Brian Hoops, president of brokerage Midwest Market Solutions. Chicago Board Of Trade November soybeans lost 0.7 percent to $13.00 a bushel and December corn slipped 0.1 percent to $4.40 a bushel. Funds sold an estimated 5,000 soybean contracts, 3,000 wheat contracts, and were even in corn, traders said. Traders increasingly focused on harvest results instead of demand ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture crop production report due on Nov. 8, said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. They eagerly awaited the report after the USDA had cancelled October's data release due to the partial U.S. government shutdown. "The closer you get to Nov. 8, the more you're going to focus on the supply side, and I don't think that's going to be overly supportive," Gerlach said. The markets are facing "pretty heavy harvest pressure here over the weekend," he added. Private exporters struck deals to sell 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to Taiwan for delivery in the marketing year that began on Sept. 1, the USDA said on Friday. Wheat sagged on profit-taking after touching a four-month high of $7.11-1/4 on Oct. 21, traders said. The market had been supported by concerns that harsh weather in Argentina, Australia and the Black Sea could damage wheat crop prospects and lead to increased export deals for the United States. CBOT December wheat ended down 0.8 percent at $6.90-3/4 a bushel.
Prices at 3:48 p.m. CDT (2048 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 440.00 -0.25 -0.1% -37.0% CBOT soy 1300.00 -9.75 -0.7% -8.4% CBOT meal 423.50 -2.50 -0.6% 0.7% CBOT soyoil 40.73 -0.40 -1.0% -17.1% CBOT wheat 690.75 -5.75 -0.8% -11.2% CBOT rice 1554.00 0.50 0.0% 4.6% EU wheat 205.25 0.50 0.2% -18.0% US crude 97.88 0.77 0.8% 6.6% Dow Jones 15,570 61 0.4% 18.8% Gold 1350.65 4.11 0.3% -19.3% Euro/dollar 1.3800 0.0002 0.0% 4.6% Dollar Index 79.2210 0.0360 0.1% -0.7% Baltic Freight 1671 -37 -2.2% 139.1%
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by David Evans and Jeffrey Benkoe)