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GRAINS-Soybeans, corn firm in technical bounce as virus fears ease

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, dateline; previous PARIS/SINGAPORE) By Julie Ingwersen CHICAGO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and grain futures inched higher on Tuesday, supported by broad strength in equity markets following losses sparked by a coronavirus outbreak in China, analysts said. Worries about harvest delays in Brazil's soybean areas added support. As of 1:05 p.m. CST (1905 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans were up 3-1/4 cents at $8.80-1/4 per bushel, a day after falling to $8.68-3/4, the contract's lowest since May. CBOT March corn was up 2-1/2 cents at $3.81-1/4 a bushel. But wheat futures were little changed in choppy trade, with the CBOT March contract steady at $5.55-1/2. Soy and corn futures took cues from Wall Street, where the Nasdaq hit a record high and the S&P 500 headed for its best day in six months as fears of a heavy economic impact from the virus epidemic abated. "With pandemic fears abating regarding the coronavirus, the trade is anticipating more aggressive Chinese buying of U.S. ag commodities beyond their current purchase program in soybeans, which could fuel further price strength in CBOT wheat, corn and soybean futures," Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote in a client note. Others said the strength in CBOT grains was mostly technical in nature, given a relative scarcity of fresh fundamental news. Rains in northern Brazil, the world's largest soybean exporter, were forecast to linger next week, although the pace of harvest has been near normal so far, the Commodity Weather Group said in a client note. "There is really not a lot of bullish impetus, or thinking we are going to see a sharply higher market. It's just that wet conditions in South America are delaying harvest, and that's enough to give us a small bounce in an oversold market," said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions. Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone raised its forecast of Brazil's 2019/20 soybean crop to 124 million tonnes, up 1.9% from its January forecast. CBOT prices as of 1:04 p.m. CST (1904 GMT): Net Pct Volume Last change change CBOT wheat WH0 555.75 0.25 0.1 58917 CBOT corn CH0 381.25 2.50 0.7 134948 CBOT soybeans SH0 879.50 2.50 0.3 84061 CBOT soymeal SMH0 288.20 -1.60 -0.6 48214 CBOT soyoil BOH0 30.70 0.41 1.4 80685 NOTE: CBOT March wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per pound. (Additional reporting by Gustavo Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Aditya Soni and Tom Brown)

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