By Joanna Levin

GIVEN the excellent growing conditions for beans this year, the market was not surprised when the US Government raised its monthly estimate of 1998 crop yields from 39.5 bushels/acre to a new prediction of 40.6 bushels/acre last Friday.

This healthy crop will result in a record output of 2.91 billion bushels, up 7% from the record production of 2.73 billion bushels achieved last year.

Much of the oversupply crisis is already reflected in soya bean prices, which have declined by over 20% since the start of the year. Indeed, futures soya bean prices in Chicago managed to inch ahead last week and early this week on strength in soya oil and world vegoil prices, as well as relief that the monthly crop production report was out of the way.

The November bean contract fell again on Wednesday 16 September at 526¢/bushel, down 8.25¢/bushel from Tuesday but little changed from last week.

Soya oil prices were supported by news that soya oil stocks fell to 1.156 million lbs in August, down 16% from July. The Chicago October soya oil futures contract closed on Wednesday 16 September at 25.3¢/lb, up from 23.5¢/lb a fortnight ago.

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