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CHICAGO: Chicago soybean futures edged lower on Wednesday, though concern adverse weather will curb production in top exporter Brazil kept prices close to their highest since August.

Corn futures were up on technical buying, and wheat futures rose after a more than 2% fall in the previous session.

The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) most-active soybean contract slid 0.22% to $13.65 a bushel, as of 1650 GMT.

Wheat was also up 0.89% at $7.90-1/2 a bushel, while corn was up 0.33% at $6.06-3/4 per bushel.

Soybean and corn crop harvests are expected to be smaller in southern Brazil this season as fields suffer from dryness, weather forecasters and consultancies said.

And while weather forecasts are calling for improved chances of rain in parts of Brazil in the coming days, at least 40% of the country’s top soybean production regions are needing additional moisture, said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for commodities brokerage Allendale.

“The next 8 weeks in Brazil are when soybean yields are set, so weather matters going into January and February,” Nelson said.

The market is also beginning to see a divide among traders about how big demand will be for U.S. commodity grains and how that will impact global stocks, said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst at Agrivisor.

While U.S. cumulative exports of grains are down from last year, Setzer said, the sales of corn for export are higher right now than the market had expected and soybean commitments are gaining. Meanwhile, domestic demand is eating up supplies, too.

The U.S. soybean crush in November likely totalled 5.753 million short tonnes, or 191.7 million bushels, the average forecast of 10 analysts surveyed by Reuters found ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

The USDA is scheduled to release its monthly fats and oils report at 2 p.m. CST (2000 GMT) on Monday, Jan. 3.

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