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GRAINS-Soybeans ease on Chinese demand concerns, wheat firms


COVID-19 lockdowns in China seen denting soybean demand


Extension of Black Sea grain export deal to ease supplies

(Adds quote in paragraph 3, updates prices)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures ticked down on Monday, giving up some of the last session's gains on uncertainty about demand from top buyer China amid rising COVID-19 infections.

Wheat rose for the first time in four sessions, although gains were limited by an extension of a grain export corridor for Ukrainian shipments.

"The increase is COVID-19 cases in China is seen as a bearish demand factor for food and energy consumption," Hightower said in a report.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) lost 0.4% to $14.22 a bushel, as of 0357 GMT. Wheat added 0.2% to $8.23-3/4 a bushel and corn fell 0.3% to $6.65-1/2 a bushel.

Growing worries about future demand from top global soybean importer China is weighing on the market. Rising COVID-19 cases are leading to fears of further lockdowns, which could curb demand for commodities.

Beijing's most populous district urged residents to stay at home on Monday, as the city's COVID case numbers rose, while at least one district in Guangzhou was locked down for five days.

Thursday's weekly export sales report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed U.S. soybean sales just above 3 million tonnes.

Wheat supplies are likely to ease after the deal allowing war-torn Ukraine to export agricultural products from Black Sea ports was extended for another 120 days.

A shipment of Russian fertiliser exports to Malawi could set an example and help to ease a 300,000-tonne backlog in European ports, a U.N. official said on Friday as the body addresses Russian concerns that threaten the Black Sea export deal.

Indian farmers have so far planted wheat and rapeseed on nearly 15% more area than a year ago, the latest data from the farm ministry showed, as planting of winter-sown crops accelerated.

Farmers in France, the European Union's biggest grain grower, had almost completed soft wheat and winter barley sowing by Nov. 14, and nearly all emerged crops were in good shape, data from farm office FranceAgriMer showed on Friday.

Farmers had sown 97% of the expected soft wheat area and 99% of the anticipated winter barley area, FranceAgriMer said in a weekly cereal crop report.

Large speculators cut their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week to Nov. 15, 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 cut their net long position in soybeans. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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