GRAINS-U.S. futures dip; set for weekly gains on Black Sea supply uncertainty
(Updates prices, adds analyst comment)
By Enrico Dela Cruz
Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. corn, soybean and wheat futures dipped in Asian trading on Friday, but the markets were set for weekly gains, as traders assessed macroeconomic risks, uncertainty over Black Sea supplies, and the impact of dry weather in some key crop areas.
The most-traded corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 0.6% at $6.84 a bushel, as of 0530 GMT.
Soybeans shed 0.3% to $14.53-1/4 a bushel, while CBOT wheat dropped 0.6% to $9.05-1/4 a bushel.
Global recession fears unsettled markets as several central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, aggressively raised interest rates this week to curb inflation, and signalled more hikes in coming months.
But traders were also focused on the deepening conflict in Ukraine.
Hampered by the Russia-Ukraine war, the Black Sea grain trade was recently partially re-established by a shipping corridor from Ukraine under a U.N.-brokered agreement, which is due to expire in November.
An escalation of the conflict, however, loomed after President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered a Russian mobilisation to fight in Ukraine and hinted he was prepared to use nuclear weapons.
Putin's action "raised further uncertainty over the extension of the ongoing Black Sea grain supply agreement", ING commodities strategists said in a note.
"Trade flows are not without disruption risk, but so long as ports and transit lanes are open for grains, then prices should generally stay contained," Citi analysts, however, said in a note.
Wheat futures' pullback after three sessions of gains also followed disappointing weekly U.S. export sales and an increased 2022/23 global wheat production forecast from the International Grains Council.
Last week's rainfall, meanwhile, was not enough to reverse drought impacts in Argentina's main breadbasket, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said, adding that a dip in wheat yields was likely for the major grains-producing country. (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich)
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