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Wheat drops to 6-week low as U.S. crop conditions improve

Reuters, 23.04.19

Wheat falls for 2nd session to lowest since March 12 * USDA rates 62 pct of winter wheat crop good to excellent (Adds details, quote) By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, April 23 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures slid for a second session on Tuesday to a six-week low as improved conditions for the U.S. winter wheat crop and friendly weather in key exporting countries boosted the outlook for global supplies.

Soybeans were little changed with the market trading close to last session's four-month low as a bumper South American harvest kept a lid on prices.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 0.5 percent at $4.39-3/4 a bushel by 0258 GMT, after dropping to its weakest since March 12 at $4.39 a bushel.

Soybeans were at $8.77-1/4 a bushel, having dropped to their lowest since Dec. 26 at $8.76-1/4 a bushel on Monday, while corn lost 0.6 percent to $3.52-1/2 a bushel.

"Wheat crops are looking good overall," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank. "U.S. crop ratings have improved further and weather is good for crops in Russia and Ukraine."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture rated 62 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, up from 60 percent a week earlier. A year ago, the USDA rated just 31 percent of the crop as good to excellent.

In Russia, wheat export prices fell last week with prospects for the upcoming 2019 crop improving while demand weakened, analysts said on Monday.

Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in May were $221 per tonne on a free on board basis at the end of last week, down $4 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said.

Farmers in neighbouring Ukraine have so far sown 2.1 million hectares of spring grain crops for the 2019 harvest, or 93 percent of the expected area, the agriculture ministry said.

Wheat is expected to test a support at $4.34-3/4, with a good chance of breaking below this level and falling towards its March 11 low of $4.27 per bushel, as it has broken a support at $4.43-1/4, according to Wang Tao, Reuters analyst for commodities technicals.

The USDA said farmers had planted 6 percent of their intended corn acres by Sunday, behind the average trade estimate of 7 percent and the five-year average of 12 percent.

The government said soybean planting was 1 percent complete, compared with the five-year average of 2 percent.

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI

CBOT wheat 439.75 -2.00 -0.45% -2.33% 464.85 23

CBOT corn 352.5 -0.6% 30

CBOT soy 877.25 0.25 +0.03% -0.37% 896.48 28

CBOT rice 10.44 -$0.01 -0.10% +0.14% $10.70 45

WTI crude 65.88 $0.33 +0.50% +2.94% $61.53

Currencies Euro/dlr $1.125 $0.000 -0.04% +0.04%

USD/AUD 0.7128 -0.001 -0.07% -0.34%

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