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CHICAGO: Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures inched higher on Friday on light positioning ahead of a three-day US holiday weekend while traders awaited more information on South American crop prospects.

CBOT March soybeans settled up 3/4 cent st $15.27-1/4 per bushel. For the week, the contract fell 15-1/4 cents a bushel or 1%, its first weekly decline of the last four weeks. CBOT March soymeal ended down 30 cents at $491.10 per short ton,

CBOT March soyoil fell 0.39 cent to settle at 61.51 cents per pound. Soybean futures chopped around this week as traders shifted their focus from problems with drought-hit crops in Argentina to expectations of a record-large Brazilian soybean harvest.

Crude oil futures sagged on Friday, capping rallies in the soy complex, on worries that interest rate hikes could weigh on demand. Soyoil sometimes follows trends in crude oil given its role in the production of biodiesel fuel.

US traders await the US Department of Agriculture’s annual Outlook Forum next week in which the government is expected to release preliminary forecasts for 2023 plantings and production of major US crops.

Brazilian grain growers are hoarding soybeans as domestic prices drop, according to the board chairman of Brazil’s biggest farmer cooperative, Coamo. Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping on March 28 on Lula’s first trip of his current term to his country’s largest trading partner, official sources told Reuters. Brazil is the world’s top soybean exporter and China is the largest buyer.

CBOT wheat gains

Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures closed fractionally higher on Friday on light short-covering ahead of a three-day US holiday weekend as traders awaited fresh direction. CBOT March soft red winter wheat settled up 1/2 cent at $7.65-1/2 per bushel, bouncing after hitting a one-week low at $7.59-1/2. For the week, the March contract fell 20-1/2 cents a bushel or 2.6%, its first weekly decline in the last four weeks.

KC March hard red winter wheat rose 8 cents Friday to settle at $9.06-1/2 a bushel and MGEX March spring wheat ended flat at $9.30-1/4. Early strength in the dollar index hung over the grain markets, making US grains less attractive globally, although the dollar later turned lower. Uncertainty about the future of a Black Sea grain export corridor underpinned values. Negotiations will start in a week on extending the UN-backed corridor agreement, a senior Ukrainian official said on Friday. Paris-based Euronext wheat futures ended little changed, consolidating after a volatile week in which prices hit a one-month high before retreating as traders digested news from the Black Sea region.

China’s winter wheat seedling situation is generally better than normal, but there is variation, with some thriving and some weaker, an official said after inspecting the crop in central provinces. US traders await the US Department of Agriculture’s annual Outlook Forum next week in which the government is expected to release preliminary forecasts for 2023 plantings and production of major US crops.

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