CANBERRA: U.S. soybean futures hit a 2-1/2-month high on Wednesday, with concerns that unfavourable weather will shrink the harvest in top producer Brazil fuelling a rally that has lifted prices by more than 10% in the last five weeks.

Corn and wheat futures edged lower.



* The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 0.1% at $13.88 a bushel by 0131 GMT after touching $13.92-1/4, the highest since Aug. 30, earlier in the session.

* CBOT corn slipped 0.2% to $4.77-1/4 a bushel and wheat fell 0.1% to $5.71-1/2 a bushel.

* Dryness in northern and central Brazil and excessive rains in southern areas threaten soy and corn production in the world's biggest soybean exporter.

* Consultancy AgRural lowered its forecast for Brazil's 2023/24 soybean crop on Monday by 1.1 million metric tons to 163.5 million tons and said further cuts were possible before the end of the month.

* A rally to contract highs in CBOT soymeal futures has also lifted soybeans. Demand for U.S. soymeal has benefited from low production in drought-hit exporter Argentina.

* The U.S. soybean crush likely hit an all-time monthly high in October, analysts said ahead of a National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) report due on Wednesday. NOPA members were estimated to have crushed 187.237 million bushels last month.

* A weaker U.S. dollar helped support CBOT prices by making U.S. farm products more competitive for buyers with other currencies. The dollar lost 1.5% against a basket of major peers on Tuesday following weak U.S. inflation data.

* A string of sales of U.S. beans to China also boosted Chicago soybeans. StoneX analyst Arlan Suderman said China booked 62 cargoes of U.S. soybeans last week, roughly double the normal weekly pace for early November.

* European Union soybean imports in the 2023/24 season that started in July had reached 4 million metric tons by Nov. 12, up 2% from a year earlier, EU data showed.

* Soybeans face technical resistance at their 200-day moving average, now around $13.90.

* Speculators have been building long positions in soybean and soymeal futures, helping to push up prices.

* Commodity funds were net buyers of Chicago soybeans, soymeal, soyoil and corn futures on Tuesday but net sellers of wheat, traders said.

* In corn markets, France raised its official estimate of this year's maize harvest to 12.20 million metric tons, up 13.3% from 2022, due to summer rain. Heavy rains are, however, disrupting harvesting in some parts of the country.

* Wheat prices largely shrugged off an unexpected fall in ratings for U.S. winter wheat. The U.S. government rated 47% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition, down from 50% a week earlier but still at a four-year high.

* Ukraine's exports through an alternative Black Sea shipping corridor have reached almost four million metric tons of goods including grains since the route started operating in August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday.



* World stocks soared on Tuesday after U.S. inflation data came in cooler than forecast in October, fuelling investor bets that an era of interest rate rises is over and borrowing costs may even soon start to fall.


(Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)