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335764

GRAINS-Chicago soybeans set for weekly gain on Chinese demand prospect

SINGAPORE, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures inched higher on Friday, with prices on track to end the week on a positive note, as expectations of strong Chinese demand underpinned the market.

Wheat ticked lower, but the market is set for its first weekly gain since early October on concerns over Black Sea supplies and excessive rains damaging the Australian crop.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up half a cent at $14.38-3/4 a bushel, as of 0049 GMT, and the market has gained almost 3% this week.

* Wheat climbed 1.5% so far this week after four weekly losses while corn is set to finish the week flat.

* The soybean market has been supported by expectations of strong demand from top importer China.

* However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said U.S. soybean export sales in the week ended Oct. 27 totalled 830,200 tonnes, at the low end of a range of trade expectations.

* Corn export sales at 372,200 tonnes were in line with expectations.

* Traders were also digesting rising private crop estimates. Commodity brokerage StoneX late Wednesday raised its estimate of the average U.S. corn yield to 174.5 bushels per acre (bpa), from 173.9 last month.

* On Thursday, private analytics firm IHS Markit Agribusiness, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, raised its U.S. corn yield estimate to 172.9 bpa, from 171.2 a month ago. The USDA is scheduled to release updated U.S. and world crop estimates on Nov. 9.

* Uncertainty about grain exports from the war-torn Black Sea region and adverse weather conditions in Australia supported wheat.

* Ukraine has exported 10 million tonnes of grain and other food since a U.N.-brokered deal in July restarted shipments stalled by Russia's war, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said, as he pushed Russia and Ukraine to extend the pact.

* Flooding and excessive rains across key parts of Australia's wheat-growing areas have resulted in extensive damage to what was expected to be a record bin-busting high quality crop just a few weeks ago, exacerbating concerns over world food supplies.

* While Australia is still on track for a third year of bumper harvest, about half of the crop grown on its eastern grain belt - known for premium hard wheat - is likely to be reduced to animal feed, although the extent of the damage will be known after waters recede, traders, analysts and farmers said.

MARKET NEWS

* Global equities fell while U.S. Treasury yields rose on Thursday as investors weighed hawkish commentary from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on the prospects of further interest rate hikes targeted at reining in inflation.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0030 Japan JibunBK Comp Op Final SA Oct 0030 Japan JibunBK SVC PMI Final SA Oct 0030 Australia Retail Sales Q3 0700 Germany Industrial Orders MM Sept 0700 Germany Manufacturing O/P Cur Prices SA Sept 0700 Germany Consumer Goods SA Sept 0850 France S&P Global Serv, Comp PMIs Oct 0855 Germany S&P Global Services PMI Oct 0855 Germany S&P Global Comp Final PMI Oct 0900 EU S&P Global Serv, Comp Final PMIs Oct 1230 US Non-Farm Payrolls Oct 1230 US Unemployment Rate Oct (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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