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Chicago grains ease as exports, weather assessed

October 29, 2022 00:00:00

PARIS/SINGAPORE, Oct 28 (Reuters): Chicago corn, wheat and soybeans edged down on Friday as grain markets assessed mixed export indications, uncertainty over the shipping corridor from Ukraine and rain relief for US and Argentine crops.

Weakness in broader financial markets, as earnings forecasts from technology giants and new COVID-19 restrictions in Chinese cities fuelled economic worries, also curbed grain prices.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 0.4 per cent at $6.79-3/4 a bushel by 1202 GMT, easing further back from a one-week top touched on Wednesday.

CBOT wheat gave up 0.7 per cent to $8.32-3/4 a bushel, though it held above a one-month low struck on Wednesday.

Soybeans were down 0.6 per cent at $13.85-1/2 a bushel, moving back from a near two-week peak on Thursday.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported weekly US corn export sales of 264,000 tonnes in the week ended Oct. 20, missing the low end of analyst estimates.

"The outlook for US corn exports is bearish, given the transport issues being faced by shippers due to low water levels in the Mississippi river," said one analyst.

At the same time, weekly US soybean export sales of 1.026 million tonnes were within a range of analysts forecasts while wheat sales of 533,200 tonnes topped the high end of expectations.

Traders were also weighing the potential impact of rain in parched growing belts in the US Plains and Argentina.

Much-needed rain improved conditions for wheat and corn in Argentina, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday.

However, there was caution about any boost for soon to be harvested wheat following steep cuts to production forecasts.

"In Argentina, some beneficial rainfall will ease corn plantings. However, for wheat, the damage due to drought is irreversible," consultancy Agritel said.

A hesitant trend in grain markets this week has reflected uncertainty over talks to extend an export corridor for Ukrainian grain.

Russia said on Friday that only 3 per cent of food exported under the UN-brokered deal has gone to the poorest countries, reiterating criticism of the corridor arrangement that currently runs to mid-November.

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