(Updates U.S. market activity to close)
By Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures fell more than 1 percent on Thursday and soybean and corn prices rose slightly as markets took cues from U.S. Department of Agriculture export sales data, traders said.
Export sales of 2.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans and 1.47 million tonnes of corn topped analysts’ estimates.
Wheat export sales of 234,900 tonnes fell below expectations and were the lowest so far during the marketing year that started June 1.
Chicago Board of Trade December wheat settled 5-3/4 cents lower at $4.12 per bushel. Wheat was further pressured by Egypt’s move to float their pound, which could lead to a weaker currency and lift costs for importers in Egypt, the world’s top buyer.
CBOT January soybeans gained 3 cents to $9.89-1/2 per bushel, rebounding from a roughly two-week low, while CBOT December corn was up 1-3/4 cents lower to $3.48.
“Soybeans are trading higher this morning, taking support from light fund buying and export sales data,” said Karl Setzer, an analyst at MaxYield Cooperative.
“One would think soybean sales at this level would give the commodity more support than it has, but the fact sales have been announced every day of the week, it’s really not that surprising,” Setzer added.
The USDA releases weekly sales data every Thursday, but also announces daily grain and oilseed sales when they are larger than 100,000 tonnes. The agency said a total of 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans were sold to unknown destinations within the past 24 hours and 136,000 tonnes of corn was sold to South Korea and 432,000 tonnes of corn to Mexico.
During the past few days traders have evened positions to minimize risk ahead of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election and Wednesday’s monthly USDA supply and demand report.
“Expectations of higher yields in the USDA report have already been priced in,” said Ole Houe, an analyst with brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney, referring to the supply-demand report.
“For soybeans we continue to see U.S. farmer selling and Chinese buying, it will be a surprise to see if there is more downside to the market.”
A drop in the U.S. dollar could also boost exports by making U.S. grain cheaper overseas. Investors have been unsettled by a recovery in poll ratings for Republican Donald Trump against Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jeffrey Benkoe)