U.S. soybean futures edged lower on Friday and corn futures were little changed ahead of what is expected to be an active weekend of harvesting in the United States, the world's top producer of both crops.
Projections that the U.S. harvest will continue to uncover larger-than-expected yields kept a lid on futures prices, despite robust export demand for corn and soy, analysts said.
The large harvest is needed to replenish crop inventories that have been drained by strong demand after a severe drought slashed U.S. output last year.
"Producers are in the final stretch for soybean harvest and weather looks good for combining," said Brian Hoops, president of brokerage Midwest Market Solutions.
Chicago Board Of Trade November soybeans lost 0.1 percent to $13.08-3/4 a bushel by 10:10 a.m CST (1510 GMT) and December corn was flat at $4.40-1/4 a bushel.
The markets were under pressure as traders increasingly focused on harvest results instead of demand, ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture crop production report due on Nov. 8, said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading.
Traders eagerly awaited the report after the USDA had cancelled October's data release due to the partial U.S. government shutdown.
"The closer you get to Nov. 8, the more you're going to focus on the supply side, and I don't think that's going to be overly supportive," Gerlach said. The markets are facing "pretty heavy harvest pressure here over the weekend," he added
Private exporters struck deals to sell 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China and 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to Taiwan for delivery in the marketing year that began on Sept. 1, the USDA said on Friday.
The deals came on the heels of USDA reports on Thursday that showed huge sales of U.S. corn and soybean meal to overseas buyers early this month. Traders and analysts attributed the export business to robust demand for animal feed and to attractive prices.
Wheat crawls higher
Wheat consolidated close to a four-month high hit this week, with prices underpinned by worries about crop conditions in some major producing countries and by brisk export demand.
CBOT December wheat gained 0.1 percent to $6.97-1/4 a bushel.
"For now it seems that the wheat market is focusing on strong demand potential more than anything," said Kayla Burkhart, a broker for SunPrairie Grain.
Wheat hit a four-month high of $7.11-1/4 on Oct. 21 on concerns that harsh weather in Argentina, Australia and the Black Sea could damage wheat crop prospects and lead to increased export deals for the United States.