(Updates with U.S. trading, adds analyst quote, details,
changes byline, dateline, pvs LONDON)
By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, March 3 U.S. corn and soybean futures
eased on Friday on profit-taking as the ongoing harvest of big
crops in South America continued to weigh on the market.
Wheat futures also were lower, with concerns about
additional supplies flooding the export market pressuring
All three commodities were on track to post gains for the
week, but Friday's bearish tone spurred investors to move money
to the sidelines.
"Some traders (are) headed to the exits rather than get
bruised by more volatile trading into the weekend," Farm Futures
senior analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.
Soybeans notched the biggest declines as the South American
export pace was expected to pick up after slowing this week.
At least 11 ships are facing delays in loading soybeans at
Brazil's northern ports after rains washed out roads and
disrupted the progress of trucks carrying beans from the
center-west region, Brazilian officials said on Thursday.
"The export flow may pick up again next week, provided
weather conditions have allowed enough road repairs to take
place," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
At 10:05 a.m. CST (1605 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade May
soybean futures were down 5-3/4 cents at $10.31-1/2 a
bushel. For the week, soybeans have risen 0.6 percent.
CBOT May corn was down 1/4 cent at $3.79-1/14 a
bushel. Corn was on track for a weekly gain of 4.1 percent, its
biggest weekly rally since mid-October.
Soybean and corn futures rose earlier this week, supported
in part by reports of potential changes to U.S. biofuel policy
to boost production. Corn is the primary U.S. feedstock for
ethanol and soyoil is used in biodiesel.
"The biofuel rumors in the U.S. have thrown uncertainty and
confusion back into the market. They come as U.S. farmers are
deciding which spring crops to grow," said David Sheppard,
managing director at UK merchant Gleadell.
CBOT May wheat was 2 cents lower at $4.50-3/4 a
bushel. Wheat futures have risen 0.3 percent so far this week.
Russia, among the world's largest wheat exporters, is
considering exporting part of its 4 million tonne state grain
stockpile to free up storage space before the new crop arrives,
industry sources said.
(Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore Editing by W Simon)