Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soybean and corn futures dipped on Thursday after the US Department of Agriculture released its weekly export sales report that disappointed analysts.
China, which is in a trade war with the United States and needs fewer soybeans as swine fever ravishes its pig herd, cancelled 148,400 metric tonnes of US soybean orders, data showed.
Overall soybean export sales were the lowest in 11 weeks.
“This is a reminder of how small the demand side is,” said Don Roose, president of consultancy US Commodities. "This report is just simply disappointing."
Traders also continue to focus on the extent to which further hot, dry weather could threaten US corn yields.
Very hot and dry weather could return to the US Midwest in the next two weeks, particularly in parts of major producing states Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, according to a report by Commodity Weather Group on Wednesday.
The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 8 cents at $9.00 a bushel at 12:05 a.m. (1705 GMT). Corn futures were down 2 cents, or .46% to $4.28-3/4 a bushel.
Meanwhile, wheat gained on reports of smaller expected harvests and some export sales. The most active CBOT future was up 4-1/4 cents, or .85% to $5.02 a bushel.
The International Grains Council cut its forecast for world wheat production in the 2019/2020 season, reflecting diminished crop outlooks in Russia, the European Union and Canada.
The wheat harvest in US states like North Dakota is expected to fall below the typical average, scouts on an annual crop tour said on Wednesday.
According to sources, a group of five crushers were told by China's state planner they could apply for exemptions from tariffs on some US soybean cargoes arriving before the end of December. However, Chinese firms are in little hurry to buy as they grapple with poor margins and longer-term doubts about Sino-US trade relations.
Top US and Chinese negotiators will meet face-to-face next week for the first time since leaders of both countries agreed in June to revive talks aimed at ending a year-long trade war between the world's two largest economies.
China imposed a 25% tariff on US soy imports last year as Washington-Beijing trade disagreements boiled over into tit-for-tat levies on each other's goods.
The market mostly shrugged off details from USDA on upcoming trade war payments to farmers that are set to begin next month.