U.S. wheat futures fall on profit taking; poor exports pressure corn, soy

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures plunged 3.1% on Thursday, snapping a six-session streak of gains as traders locked in profits from the rally.

Soybean futures were down 2.8%, with the latest weather forecasts showing that some timely rains will arrive in key growing areas as the crop hits a critical stage of development.

Corn futures also posted sharp losses, with signs of weak export demand weighing on the market.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday morning that weekly export sales of corn totaled a net -40,700 tonnes, largely due to cancellations from China.

At 11:44 a.m. CDT (1644 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures CZ1 were down 9-1/4 cents at $5.59-1/4 a bushel.

CBOT November soybeans SX1 were 31-1/4 cents lower at $13.58-1/2 a bushel.

"There is a little bit more rain in the forecast than we had been seeing," said Ted Seifried, chief ag strategist with the Zaner Group. "It is further out so that will be extremely timely for soybeans."

Soybeans in the U.S. Midwest typically reach their yield-determining phase of pod setting during August.

Traders also said that poor exports -- USDA's weekly report showed soybean export sales totaled just 238,400 tonnes -- was weighing on soy futures as overseas buyers look for cheaper alternatives.

"High prices ration off what foreign corn and soybean demand they can," Matt Zeller, director of market information at StoneX, said in a note to clients.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat futures WU1 were down 22-1/4 cents at $6.88-1/2 a bushel. The contract had jumped 12.2% during its six-session winning streak.
Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Tomasz Janowski and David Evans

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