GRAINS-Chicago wheat, corn make gains with exports in focus

By Cassandra Garrison

CHICAGO, March 17 (Reuters)Chicago wheat futures edged higher on Friday and corn made gains before easing slightly after a nervous week marked by turmoil in the banking sector, high demand for U.S. corn exports and a pending deadline on the extension of a wartime Black Sea grain deal.

Soybean prices fell on forecast rains in Argentina, though analysts said drought-hit crops were likely too far gone to show improvements at this stage.

CBOT wheat Wv1 rose 0.6% to $7.03 a bushel by 11:01 a.m. CDT (1601 GMT), while corn Cv1 rose 0.1% to $6.33-1/4 a bushel, with both cereals earlier reaching their highest in over a week.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Sv1was down 1.2% at $14.73 a bushel.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made its fourth consecutive daily announcement of old-crop U.S. corn sales to China, totalling 2.1 million tonnes over four days.

I think we’ll continue to see corn exports ramp up and I think that’ll help support the corn prices,” said Jack Scoville, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

A weaker dollar lent some support to U.S. commodities as risk appetite returned following steps this week to shore up the banking sector, with attention shifting towards a U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate policy meeting next week. FRX/

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The prospect of bumper harvests in Brazil has capped soybean and corn prices, though corn has found additional support this week in a flurry of U.S. export sales to China.

Grain markets were also monitoring talks to maintain a grain shipping channel from Ukraine, with a Russian push for a reduced duration creating doubt ahead of a Saturday deadline.

Ukraine insists on a 120-day extension of an agreement allowing the safe export of grain from Black Sea ports, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, after the Kremlinearlier repeated its position of a 60-day extension.

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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