The soybean complex traded sharply lower led by the nearby contracts on technical selling, easing concerns over US harvest progress disruptions, and much needed rain for the southern growing areas of South America over last week. Brazil saw an increase in rain this weekend and nearly all locations will receive at least some precipitation by the first week in October. Lower trade in heavy volume at the beginning of the week, at least in the overnight session, on beneficial rains that fell across central and northern Brazil kicking off the planting season. USDA announced sales of 240,000 tons of soybeans to unknown but the trade widely ignored this. China was on holiday last week so some traders were anticipating a pickup in US sales. Historically China still buys soybeans during their weeklong holidays. USDA soybean crop conditions for the combined G/E categories were unchanged from the previous week, and harvest progress advanced 6 points to 10 percent complete, one point below a trade average and matching its 5-year average. Moving into the week the monster-crop mindset has been pressuring the market, but an export sale to China announced under the daily reporting system Tuesday morning brought some support to help prices bounce from near recent lows. Weekly export sales figures published by USDA Thursday morning were 1.76 MMT; higher than the range of published expectations from the trade. Meal was 88,800 MT and soy oil was only 3,400 MT. Both meal and oil sales were within trade expectations, but towards the lower end. Private exporters reported another 120,000 MT booked for delivery to China. The USDA soybean complex appreciated on Friday led by light bull spreading after USDA reported lower than expected September 1 soybean stocks. Soybean stocks of 197 million bushels were only 4 million below trade expectations. Much of the trade had this figure factored in. 2015 production was taken down only 3 million from March 2016. And June 1 stocks were upward revised only 2 million bushels by USDA. Friday’s trade was also a function of end of month, end of quarter.