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Soybeans slide 1pc on improved crop ratings, milder weather

Reuters, 02.08.17

PARIS/SYDNEY: Chicago soybeans fell more than 1 percent on Tuesday after an unexpected improvement in the condition of US crops eased concerns about yield losses following recent hot, dry weather.

A milder weather outlook for US growing belts further weighed on soybeans and also helped to push corn futures slightly lower, despite a decline in the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop ratings for the cereal.

Chicago wheat was almost unchanged as the market set a latest deterioration in weather-battered US spring wheat against sizeable global supplies, including a bumper Russian harvest.

The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 1.3 percent at $9.93-3/4 a bushel at 1128 GMT, having earlier dipped to $9.91-1/2, its lowest since July 26.

In a weekly update issued after the market close on Monday, the USDA pegged 59 percent of the US soybean crop at good to excellent, up 2 percent from last week and ahead of market expectations.

"There was a bit of an improvement in soybeans and that explains why the market is softer today," Graydon Chong, senior commodities analyst at Rabobank, said.

"The weather outlook for the next 10 days is a little cooler so that should help crops."

However, analysts and traders remained concerned by dry conditions in the western part of the Midwest grain belt, and limited expected rainfall could leave soybean and corn markets prone to volatility in the run-up to monthly USDA crop forecasts on Aug. 10.

"Soybeans remain at peril in what has already been a long, hot US summer," Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said.

The most active corn futures were down 0.7 percent at $3.82 a bushel.

Corn was pegged at 61 percent good to excellent by the USDA, slightly below analysts' forecasts.

The most active wheat futures were unchanged on the day at $4.74-1/2 a bushel, steadying after falling to a one-month low on Monday.

The USDA said 31 percent of the US spring crop was good to excellent, below an average market forecast of 33 percent. This helped to push the smaller Minneapolis spring wheat futures market higher on Tuesday.

"Minneapolis wheat is still pretty well supported, but the market has priced in a lot of the damage," Rabobank's Chong said.

"We're still focused on the US but there are no real concerns in Europe, except some quality concerns in Germany although it's wait and see there."

Russian agriculture consultancy IKAR on Tuesday increased its estimate for this year's wheat production in Russia to a record 74-77 million tonne range.

In western Europe, traders are waiting for a clearer picture of a rain-delayed German harvest, after better results than expected in France.

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