By Jesse Newman

CHICAGO--Beneficial rains in Argentina pressured U.S. corn and soybean futures Monday, improving the outlook for crop harvests in that country. Wheat also fell.

Soybean prices led the declines, weighed down by the arrival of much-needed precipitation in Argentina as well as forecasts for more wet weather, which eased fears over crop shortfalls in that country. Private forecaster Commodity Weather Group LLC said rains hit nearly all of Argentina's driest regions over the weekend, with more moisture expected to descend on the heart of the country's corn and soybean-growing regions toward the end of the week. That eased worries for some grain traders, who last week pushed prices higher amid concerns over growing conditions for the rival producer.

Soybean futures for January sank 15 1/4 cents, or 1.5%, to $10.21 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Monday's losses came despite evidence of ongoing demand for U.S. soybean supplies, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting that private exporters had sold 264,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to China during the 2016-17 crop year. The amount of soybeans loaded for export last week -- 63.6 million bushels -- also fell toward the high end of expectations, analysts said.

Corn prices fell, as rains in Argentina were seen as a positive for the nation's grain crop.

The USDA said private exporters had sold 128,000 metric tons of corn for delivery to Japan during the 2016-17 season. Still, a robust U.S. dollar is acting as a drag on the corn market, as it makes U.S. supplies more expensive for international importers.

CBOT March corn futures decline 3 cents,or 0.8%, to $3.53 1/4 a bushel.

Wheat prices faltered despite frigid temperatures in the U.S. Plains on Sunday that likely damaged some crops. Forecasters said, however, that ongoing cold temperatures next week were not likely to do further damage.

CBOT March wheat futures shed 4 1/4 cents, or 1%, to $4.05 a bushel.

Write to Jesse Newman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 19, 2016 15:47 ET (20:47 GMT)

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