Soybeans traded near the lowest since January as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu in China rose, boosting concerns poultry meat consumption and feed use in the world’s largest buyer of the oilseed may slow.
The May contract dropped 0.7 percent to $13.625 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 10:45 a.m. Singapore time on volume that was 6 percent below the 100-day average for that time of day. Futures fell yesterday to $13.61, the lowest since Jan. 11, and are heading for a 3 percent loss this week.
Officials in Shanghai closed a live-poultry trading area and began culling birds there after the H7N9 virus was detected in pigeon samples, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday, without citing the origin of the information. The death toll from the new birdflu strain reached six in China, the Washington Post reported, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These fears contributed to the weaker price action,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia wrote in a report today. “Unless the virus becomes much more widespread, we think these fears are overdone.”
The May contract for corn, which can be used in poultry feed, was little changed at $6.2975 a bushel, set for a 9.4 percent loss this week, the most since the five days ended June 15. Wheat was little changed at $6.94 a bushel.
Total sales of wheat fell 62 percent to 315,984 metric tons in the week to March 28, the smallest since Jan. 31, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data released yesterday. Futures fell 3.7 percent in March, extending an 8.3 percent plunge the previous month.
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