Chicago soybean futures were unchanged on Friday but set for their first weekly gain since August after the U.S. government lowered its U.S. production forecast further than analysts had expected.
Corn fell and wheat rose, with both set to end the week little changed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a monthly report forecast a U.S. soybean harvest of 4.104 billion bushels, 42 million fewer bushels than predicted in September and 30 million bushels below an average of analysts' estimates.
The USDA also projected smaller soybean yields and soybean ending stocks holding steady at the September level.
High Soy Prices
Higher soy prices would encourage more U.S. farmers to switch to beans from corn in new plantings, putting downward pressure on the market in the longer term, said Vitor Pistoia, an analyst at Rabobank in Sydney.
In the near term, however, a record harvest in Brazil is keeping a lid on prices, with Brazilian beans trading at a discount, he said.
On the demand side, customs data showed that China imported 7.15 million tons of soybeans in September, 7.3% less than a year ago.
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Sv1 was unchanged at $12.90 a bushel by 0501 GMT, but up 1.9% from last Friday's close.
CBOT soybeans fell to $12.51 a bushel earlier this week, the lowest since December 2021.
Chicago corn Cv1 fell 0.4% to $4.94-1/4 a bushel and wheat Wv1 was 0.3% higher at $5.73 a bushel.
For corn, which fell to a 33-month low of $4.68 a bushel last month due to strong supply from Brazil and the United States, the USDA predicted a U.S. harvest of 15.064 billion bushels, 37 million bushels beneath analysts' expectations.
U.S. soybean and corn crops were hit by hot and dry weather during critical parts of the growing season.
Separately, the USDA reported that exporters sold 295,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to unknown buyers and 124,545 metric tons of U.S. corn to Guatemala.
In Europe, consultancy Strategie Grains raised its forecast for this year's European Union wheat harvest by 0.6 million metric tons to 125.6 million tons and for its maize (corn) harvest by 1 million metric tons to 60.6 million tons.
China's agriculture ministry lifted its forecast for the upcoming corn crop by 1.15% to a record 288 million metric tons.
In Argentina, the Rosario grains exchange lowered its wheat harvest forecast and raised its soybean harvest estimate.
The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange also downgraded its forecast for Argentina's wheat crop during the 2023/2024 harvesting season by 0.3 million metric tons to 16.2 million tons.
CBOT wheat fell to a three-year low of $5.40 a bushel last month due to a flood of cheap exports from Russia.
Egypt's state grains buyer said on Thursday it bought 470,000 metric tons of wheat in an international tender, of which 300,000 tons was Russian. The lowest free-on-board offer was $259 per metric ton, traders said.
The USDA in its report forecast U.S. wheat ending stocks at 670 million bushels, 33 million bushels above the average of analysts' estimates.
Commodity funds were net buyers of Chicago soybeans, soymeal, soyoil, corn and wheat on Thursday, traders said.