(Updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, changes byline, dateline, pvs PARIS/SINGAPORE)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday on follow-through buying on the U.S. Agriculture Department’s surprise cut to its domestic production estimate and ending stocks on Thursday, traders said.
Soymeal led soybeans higher amid concerns that excessive rains in Argentina could limit the size of the soybean crop in the worlds top soymeal exporter.
Corn futures eased while wheat was mixed, with CBOT soft red winter wheat contracts easing while K.C. hard red winter wheat and MGEX spring wheat firmed. MGEX spring wheat hit its highest since July 2015.
Signs of continued strong export demand for U.S. supplies helped turn soybeans higher after trading lower during the overnight session.
The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday morning said that private exporters reported the sale of 132,000 tonnes of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations in the 2016/17 marketing year. It was the first flash sale of U.S. soybeans since Dec. 21.
“That was a little bit of a psychological boost, especially after we got yesterday’s numbers.” said Jason Britt, president at Central States Commodities.
At 11:01 a.m. CST (1701 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures for March delivery were up 7-3/4 cents at $10.48 a bushel. CBOT March corn was down 1 cent at $3.57-1/4 a bushel.
CBOT March soft red winter wheat was down 2-1/4 cents at $4.24 a bushel. K.C. March hard red winter wheat was 2 cents higher at $4.46-3/4, reflecting a particularly steep drop in HRW area in the USDA sowing estimates released on Thursday. MGEX March spring wheat gained 4-3/4 cents to $5.78-3/4 a bushel.
Wheat was lifted by a smaller-than-expected estimate of U.S. winter wheat sowings, which the USDA pegged at their lowest level in more than a century.
“A response to depressed price levels, this 10 percent year-on-year cut (in wheat area) brings about the first step towards a U.S. supply and demand deficit in 2017/18,” Rabobank said. “Hard red winter wheat was hit hardest, with the key producing state of Kansas projected to cut 13 percent off new crop acres.”
A flurry of export activity on Friday highlighted global demand for high-protein supplies of wheat.
Turkey’s state grain board TMO purchased 99,000 tonnes of European Union-origin milling wheat. Tunisia’s state grains agency bought around 100,000 tonnes of durum wheat and South Korea’s Major Feedmill Group purchased about 60,000 tonnes of feed wheat. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrea Ricci)