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Soy complex falls as USDA report keeps domestic yield estimate steady

Houston — Soybean-related futures slipped Thursday after the US Department of Agriculture released data projecting soybean yields were holding steady for the US 2017-18 crop.

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In its latest monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand and Estimate report, the agency on Thursday held firm on its estimated yield of 49.5 bushels per harvested acre.

The estimate was above market expectations, which expected a substantial decline in yield. The news sent soybean, soybean meal and soybean oil futures plummeting shortly after the report.

Within minutes of the report's release, front-month soybean futures had fallen to $9.7775/bushel, a 10.25 cents decrease compared with Wednesday's settle. Soybean meal futures and soybean oil futures saw similar drops.

USDA's soybean production forecast estimate fell 6 million bushels to 4.425 billion bushels. The agency also lowered its estimated ending stocks forecast by 5 million bushels to 425 million bushels, the data show.

The area planted and harvested forecasts held steady at 90.2 million acres and 89.5 million acres, respectively.

USDA's total supply expectations decreased 5 million bushels to 4.752 billion bushels. Soybean export and import projections were unchanged at 2.25 billion bushels and 25 million bushels, respectively.

USDA's forecast for soybean oil usage for biodiesel production was steady at 7 billion lb.

The midpoint of the projected season-average price range for soybeans rose 10 cents to $9.30/bushel, as the USDA projected the range would be $8.45-$10.15/bushel. Its soybean oil price forecast was unchanged at 32.5 cents/lb to 36.5 cents/lb.

The USDA forecast for soybean oil ending stocks rose 79 million lb to 1.616 billion lb. The projection for soybean oil production was unchanged at 22.505 billion lb, according to the data, while the agency forecast for soybean oil beginning stocks rose to 1.6711 billion lb, an increase of 79 million lb.

The agency's estimate for total soybean oil use was flat at 22.9 billion lb, while its domestic consumption forecast was also unchanged at 20.8 billion lb, the data show.

--Wes Swift,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,