GRAINS-Soybeans drop 2% on U.S. crop forecast, weather; corn, wheat down
* Expectations of higher U.S. soybean output weigh on prices
* Forecasts of improved crop weather this week add pressure
* Chicago corn, wheat lose ground on hopes of higher supplies (Recasts, adds quote in paragraphs 3-4, updates prices)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans slid more than 2% on Monday, falling for the first time in three sessions after a U.S. government report raised the country's production forecast, with additional pressure from expectations of improved weather this week.
Corn and wheat lost more than 1% each.
"Traders were expecting a cut in soybean production but the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) raised production and yield to record highs," according to a Hightower report.
"The report news was bearish, especially the jump in yield as acreage was adjusted lower. Traders also see the cooler and wetter weather expected this week as a bearish factor."
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) lost 2.1% to $14.24-1/2 a bushel, as of 0339 GMT. Corn fell 1.4% to $6.33 a bushel and wheat gave up 1.6% to $7.93-1/4 a bushel.
U.S. soybean production will be bigger than previously forecast as better-than-expected yields will more than make up for a cut to acreage, the U.S. government said on Friday.
While dry weather has hit soybean fields hard in some farms west of the Mississippi River, yields in top-producing states like Illinois, Indiana and Ohio would make up for any shortfalls, the USDA's monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report said.
The soybean harvest will come in at a record 4.531 billion bushels, compared with the government's July harvest estimates of 14.505 billion bushels, according to the report.
However, Friday's forecast is based on U.S. crop conditions as of Aug. 1 and there has been a lot of heat and dryness hitting the crop in the last 12 days, analysts said.
Wheat and corn prices were weighed down by easing concerns about Black Sea supply.
Two more ships carrying grain left from Ukraine's Black Sea ports on Saturday, bringing the total number of vessels to depart the country under a U.N.-brokered deal to 16.
The first ship to depart Ukraine under the deal two weeks ago was approaching the Syrian port of Tartous on Sunday, after the original buyer refused the delivery over quality concerns.
In Europe, French maize crop conditions declined steeply last week to their lowest level in at least a decade, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed, as a worsening drought and latest heatwave baked fields in the European Union's top grain producer.
Exports of Russian wheat harvested this summer for the 2022/23 marketing season are unlikely to fulfil the potential offered by an expected record crop as banks, shippers and insurers are still wary despite U.S. assurances over sanctions, traders said.
Large speculators raised their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week to Aug. 9, regulatory data released on Friday showed.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their net short position in CBOT wheat and net long position in soybeans. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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