U.S. soybean futures are expected to start higher Friday, driven by traders bracing for tighter supply projections in Monday's crop outlooks from government forecasters.

CBOT soybeans are called to open up 4 cents to 6 cents.

In overnight trading, Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures were up 6 1/2 cents at $14.24 3/4 a bushel.

"The dominate issue for traders today is evening some positions ahead of Monday's reports after Thursday's declines," said Don Roose, president Iowa based brokerage U.S. Commodities.

Industry analysts anticipate prices holding within a narrow trading range, with traders unwilling take on added risk, as they await more clarity on eventual crop production.

The uncertainty of crop production will continue to support current price levels. But without a clear picture of yield potential, many traders will be cautious and stay on the sidelines ahead of Monday's reports, Roose added.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release its latest forecast for production, inventories and demand at 8:30 a.m. EDT Monday.

The consensus of industry analysts is the agency will lower its production and yield outlook for the soybean crop below its August forecast. In recent weeks, several private firms have released crop estimates that were below the USDA's August forecast.

For September, the USDA will forecast the soybean harvest at 3.025 billion bushels, down 1% from its estimate a month ago, with the average yield at 41.0 bushels an acre, 0.9% below last month's estimate, according to the average prediction of 24 analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

However, industry analysts have become increasingly comfortable with yield estimates near 40 bushels per acre, meaning unless yields drop below this in government forecasts, it may be hard to stage any significant rally from current levels.

The influence of external financial markets will continue to impact prices, with analysts concerned about soybean demand holding up in the face of a sluggish world economy.

U.S. soybean sales totaled 444,900 metric tons in the week ended Sept. 1, the USDA reported in its weekly sales report. Sales increases were noted to China at 192,200 tons. Analysts anticipated sales in a range of 300,000 to 650,000 tons.

"The sales report did not provide any surprises, but reflects U.S. soybean export demand continuing to sputter," said Roose.