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By Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. corn, soybean and wheat futures were trading close to unchanged on Monday morning, steadying after all three commodities posted sharp gains last week.
Prices recovered from overnight weakness on technical buying but plentiful global supplies limited the potential upside for the markets, traders said.
At 1026 a.m. CST (1626 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade March soybean futures were up 1 cent at $10.60 a bushel. The most-active contract hit a 2-1/2 week high on Friday.
Good weather in key crop-growing areas of South America bolstered expectations of a bumper harvest in Brazil and Argentina, with some analysts saying the U.S. Agriculture Department’s most recent production forecasts were too low.
“Local estimates from Brazil continue to come in higher than USDA, and weather in Argentina appears to be improving, too. Most of the growing region was dry over the weekend, and forecasts do not show the threat of widespread heavy rains that could cause flooding,” Farm Futures senior analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.
Brazil’s Abiove said it expected local soybean production would hit 104.6 million tonnes, up from its December forecast of 101.7 million. It pegged the country’s soybean exports at 58.7 million tonnes.
“Balance sheets remain heavy, particularly among the main exporting countries, and that there is no major concern for the 2017 crops for the moment,” French consultancy Agritel said in a note.
CBOT March soft red winter wheat futures were 1/4 cent lower at $4.48-3/4 a bushel, consolidating after hitting a seven-month high last week.
“There is a break in the upside trend which we saw in wheat after the USDA report and (on the back of) improving demand for U.S. wheat,” said Kaname Gokon at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo. “There are plenty of supplies around in most exporting countries which will limit the upside potential.”
The Australian Bureau of Agriculture, Resource Economics and Rural Sciences said the country’s 2016/17 wheat harvest was a record 35.13 million tonnes.
CBOT March corn was unchanged at $3.74-1/2 a bushel. Corn futures hit a seven-month high on Friday.
Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Richard Pullin, David Holmes and W Simon