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CHICAGO: Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures trimmed gains on Monday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued higher-than-expected estimates for South American crops and kept its U.S. export forecast unchanged, traders said.

Wheat futures turned lower, while corn clung to gains.

The USDA, in a monthly crop report, pegged Brazil’s soy crop at 134 million tonnes, down from 139 million in January, and Argentina’s soy crop at 45 million, down from 46.5 million. Analysts surveyed by Reuters, on average, expected 133.65 million for Brazil and 44.51 million for Argentina.

Some other private analysts have predicted Brazilian production of the oilseed dropping even lower to around 125 million tonnes amid dry weather in the south of the country.

“Looking at these figures, they’re a little on the high side for South American corn production and soybeans,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst for Futures International, about the USDA. “The futures prices immediately responded by trading a little bit lower.”

The most-active soybean contract was up 17-1/2 cents at $15.86-1/2 a bushel by 11:45 a.m. CST (1745 GMT). The contract earlier set an eight-month high of $15.96-1/2.

The most-active corn futures were up 7 cents at $6.39-1/4, while wheat slipped 1 cent to $7.77-3/4.

Crop watchers have been scaling back forecasts for Brazil and Argentina’s soybean harvests after drought, raising the prospect that some international demand will shift towards U.S. supplies. A run of U.S. export sales has underscored expectations that shipments from the United States will pick up.

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