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Corn futures turn higher, wheat hits months-low on choppy trading day

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended higher on Friday as the market continues to closely watch the weather in South America, on what turned into a relatively choppy and short trading day, analysts said.

Meanwhile, wheat futures fell sharply - with the December contract hitting its lowest since Aug. 22 - as recent weakness in Russian wheat prices continued to weigh on the market, traders said.

Soybeans ended the day nearly unchanged after Argentina announced it would reestablish a preferential currency exchange for soybean exports until the end of the year, in a bid to rev up exports of its top cash crop and bring in much-needed dollars.

And questions of export demand for U.S. grain and oilseeds also weighed on the market, traders said.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) settled the day down 16-1/2 cents at $7.97 a bushel.

CBOT most-active soybeans gained 1/4-cent to $14.36-1/4 a bushel, and corn settled up 5 cents at $6.71-1/4 a bushel.

The Chicago traded grain and oilseed markets closed at 12:05 p.m. Central time on Friday (1805 GMT). CBOT grain markets were closed overnight and on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Corn futures strengthened, as the market continued to track not only dry weather forecasts that may cause more stress on Argentinian crops, but also questions of whether Ukraine's harvest might face challenges next year, traders said.

"Roughly half the corn remains in the field as winter sets in," Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for brokerage StoneX wrote in a commentary note. "Authorities fear that corn not harvested will result in lower plantings in 2023 as well." (Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago. Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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