March soybeans were down 1/2 cent late in the overnight session. Palm oil futures in Malaysia were up 0.4% overnight and China soybean futures were up 0.8%. Outside market forces were mixed to slightly supportive overnight with a weaker US dollar but also a weaker tone to energy markets. Old crop futures were under some pressure overnight on talk that the rally yesterday was overdone and that South America weather is improving. Traders will be monitoring the weekly export sales news and the monthly crush data this morning for signs of slowing demand resulting from recent higher prices. In addition, there is some concern that China might back away from imports during the Lunar New Year. While the ending stocks outlook calls for extreme tightness at the end of this season, traders are concerned that recent estimates which show declining, not expanding planted area for the coming year could leave the 2011/12 outlook extremely tight if there is a minor weather glitch this year. The soybean market recovered part of the sharp losses from Tuesday as renewed support for commodity markets in general offset more talk of improving crop conditions in Argentina and nearly ideal conditions in Brazil. Some private forecasters in Brazil are pushing up estimates for production this season. Soybean oil found solid support yesterday from strong gains in other food markets. Talk that Malaysia palm production could be down 5-10% in January and weather uncertainties ahead have supported the vegetable oil market. Soybeans followed wheat and corn higher yesterday to trade moderately higher on the session. Ideas that South America weather is improving right into the more critical pod-setting stage in Argentina was seen as a negative force, but this was offset by news that a strike at the key export port in Argentina could paralyze grain exports and dramatically slow the crushing pace. Argentina is the world's largest exporter of meal and oil, and the Rosario region moves about 80% of that nation's product exports. Private exporters reported a sale of 227,000 tonnes of soybeans to China with 60,000 of the total for the 2010/11 season and the rest for 2011/12. The Argentina export port news helped support the product markets, and a colder forecast for the Midwest for next week was seen as a positive factor for meal demand, which was said to be sluggish recently. Eggs set into incubators last week was up 1% from last year, so traders see little evidence that feed demand will be dropping off significantly, with cattle prices near all-time highs and hog futures surging to new contract highs. Traders will monitor the weekly export sales report in the morning, with many traders looking for soybean sales near 700,000 tonnes from 915,800 tonnes last week. Traders look for the monthly Census Crush report to show December crush near 152 million bushels, compared with 154.99 million in November.
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