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GRAINS-U.S. soy drops to lowest since July; wheat, corn sink

(Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Oct 6 (Reuters) -

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures fell to a 2-1/2 month low on Thursday, under pressure from the ongoing U.S. harvest and signs of weak overseas demand, traders said.

Poor export demand also weighed on the corn and wheat markets as investors remained wary of an economic downturn.

"The grain and oilseed markets were weaker ... reflecting heightened fear that global recessionary problems may erode demand for food- and energy-based commodities in the months ahead," Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at brokerage StoneX said in a research note.

At 11:21 a.m. CDT (1621 GMT), CBOT November soybeans were down 15-3/4 cents at $13.54 a bushel. On a continuous basis, the most-active contract hit its lowest since July 25.

"It is hard for the bean market to rally much in the middle of harvest and there is still the concern about Chinese demand," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage.

CBOT December corn futures were off 11-1/2 cents at $6.72-1/2 a bushel.

Soybean export sales totaled 777,100

tonnes in the week ended Sept. 29, down 23% from a week earlier, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday morning.

Corn export sales of 227,000 tonnes were down 56% from a week earlier and below the low end of market expectations.

Overseas demand for U.S. corn and soybeans typically surges during harvest but

low water on southern sections of the Mississippi River halted most shipping traffic

, sending prices for barges soaring.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat dropped 24-1/4 cents to $8.77-1/4 a bushel.

Weekly wheat export sales totaled 229,400 tonnes, near the low end of trade expectations.

Attention is turning to next week's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) October crop forecasts for a gauge of harvest yields after a dry summer. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Shounak Dasgupta and Chris Reese)

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