Weakness in soybean oil markets pushed soybean prices lower late Thursday.
The nearby soybean futures contract on the Chicago Board of Trade closed 1/2 cent lower at $6.18 1/2 a bushel. Soybean oil was off 23 points to 22.17 cents a pound.Dealers said commission house selling weighed on the soybean markets as the market failed to follow-through from Wednesday's sharp rally generated by additional sales of U.S. soybean meal to the Soviet Union under the long-term grain agreement between the two countries.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced late Wednesday that the Soviets bought 150,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans. Officials said Wednesday that private exporters sold the meal for delivery through Dec. 31. The current agreement, including a three-month extension, will expire at that time and a new five-year pact will take over.
The new sales were made by unidentified private exporting companies, which are required to report large sales to the department.
Under the current grain agreement, the Soviet Union bought more than 1.37 million tons of soybean meal during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, along with 342,000 tons of soybeans.
Grain purchases during the year totaled 20.3 million tons, including nearly 16.5 million tons of corn and 3.8 million tons of wheat.
Wheat futures on the CBT turned slightly higher after early weakness on news of moderating weather in the Great Plains growing areas, which will allow active seeding of the 1991 winter wheat crop. At the final bell, wheat was up 1/4 cent to $2.74 3/4.
Pressure continued from large world supplies.
Reports that the Bush administration may be considering offering the Soviet Union export credit guarantees without a change in Soviet emigration laws provided some support, traders said.
A meeting of U.S. commodity and grain export executives was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
News that the USDA targeted Tunisia for 500,000 tons of export bonus wheat also helped prop up prices, they said.
Corn futures on the CBT were higher, buoyed by commodity fund demand in nearby deliveries. At the close of trading, corn was up 1 1/2 cents in
December to $2.30 1/2.
Persistent talk the Soviets may have bought U.S. corn this week discouraged active selling interest, analysts said.