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GRAINS-Soybeans firm on exports, mixed harvest results


Soybean yields lower than expected in many parts of U.S. Midwest


CBOT wheat eases after earlier gains


Russia's planned annexation of occupied Ukrainian zones in focus

(Updates with closing prices)

By Christopher Walljasper

CHICAGO, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures inched higher on Thursday, supported by strong export sales after lower trade much of the week as harvest progresses across the U.S. Midwest, though some farmers report lower-than-anticipated yields, analysts said.

Corn and wheat eased ahead of Friday's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quarterly U.S. grain stocks and annual small grains reports, pressured by a rising dollar and growing investor worries about an economic recession, though fears of more disruption to Black Sea trade underpinned both markets.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 2 cents to $14.10-3/4 a bushel, after climbing to $14.23-3/4 earlier in the session.

CBOT corn eased 1 cent to $6.69-1/2 a bushel and wheat fell 7 cents to $8.96-1/4 cents a bushel.

Ideal harvest weather this week in much of the U.S. Midwest is expected to show strong harvest progress when the U.S. Agriculture Department updates its crop progress report next Monday afternoon, though soybean yields are varied, said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Northstar Commodity.

"Seventy percent of the guys in Minnesota are 5-10 bushel less than last year. Most will be close to half done by Saturday," he said. "We have guys in northwest Iowa that are done. They went nine bushels less than last year."

Soybeans were supported by stronger-than-expected weekly export sales of 973,000 tonnes of the oilseed during the week ended Sept. 22, besting analyst predictions of 250,000 to 850,000 tonnes.

Corn sales of 672,100 tonnes and wheat sales of 250,100 tonnes were in line with trade forecasts.

Russia is poised to annex a swath of Ukraine after what Kyiv and the West denounced as illegal sham referendums in occupied territory, while the European Union investigated a leak from Russian gas pipelines it believes was due to sabotage, fuelling doubts about whether a U.N.-supervised shipping corridor for Ukrainian grain will last.

"Russia and Ukraine have good crops," said Jeff French, owner of Ag Hedgers. "It's the reliability of actually being able to export it." (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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