GRAINS-Corn and wheat hit two-week lows as coronavirus fears weigh
(Adds latest prices, U.S. export sales data, changes byline, dateline; previous SYDNEY/PARIS)
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - U.S. grain futures extended losses on Thursday, with corn and wheat hitting two-week lows as concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact weighed on prices.
Improving global crop weather added pressure on prices, with rains benefiting dry growing areas in the United States, Russia and Brazil, traders said.
Crude oil also fell as COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe clouded the demand outlook, while stocks were in and out of losses globally.
"The energy sector spills over into the agricultural market when it comes to soybean oil and corn," said Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst for Futures International. "Widespread commodity selling is obviously a major factor."
The most actively traded corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were down 1-1/2 cents at $4.00 a bushel by 12:17 p.m. CDT (1717 GMT) and touched their lowest since Oct. 14 at $3.93.
Most-active wheat futures were down 2-1/2 cents at $6.06-1/4 a bushel and set a session low of $5.98-1/2, also the lowest since Oct. 15. Soybeans were off 4-1/2 cents at $10.50-1/4 a bushel after falling to $10.48-1/2, the lowest level since Oct. 19.
"Nervousness and volatility are setting up on all markets, the main consequence of the new wave of the COVID pandemic," French consultancy Agritel said. "Funds started to take profits, motivated by the uncertainties over global demand and the U.S. election."
The jitters overshadowed strong export demand, traders said.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said weekly U.S. wheat export sales totaled 803,200 tonnes, topping market forecasts for 200,000 tonnes to 700,000 tonnes.
Weekly U.S. corn export sales reached 2.244 million tonnes, above estimates for 700,000 tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes. Soybean export sales were 1.630 million tonnes, in line with forecasts.
Mexican buyers separately booked deals to buy their largest volume of U.S. corn since December 2019, the USDA said on Thursday. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago. Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris Editing by David Goodman and Tom Brown)
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