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GRAINS-U.S. soy futures rally on strong exports; corn, wheat also firm

(Updates with closing prices, adds details on Black Sea shipping talks)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose 1.4% on Thursday as strong export data buoyed hopes that overseas buyers will book more deals in coming weeks.

Corn and wheat futures also were firm, with short-covering and technical buying underpinning the market after prices for both commodities dropped near the low end of recent trading ranges earlier this week.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday that soybean export sales totaled 2.336 million tonnes in the week ended Oct. 13, the biggest weekly total in a year.

Additionally, the USDA said that private exporters reported the sale of 201,000 tonnes of soybeans to China and 132,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations.

"The export business today was certainly impressive but not a surprise," said Scott Harms, ag risk specialist at Archer Financial Services. "The firmness is being led by expectations of further demand. The market is trying to price that in."

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures settled up 19 cents at $13.91-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT December soft red winter wheat gained 8 cents to $8.49-1/4 a bushel and CBOT December corn futures were 5-3/4 cents higher at $6.84 a bushel.

An easing in the dollar index and a rise in crude oil lent some support to grains.

Wheat markets have been pressured by hopes of progress towards extending Ukraine's United Nations-backed shipping corridor beyond November.

But talks on extending a July deal that resumed Ukraine Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports are not making much progress because Russian concerns are not being taken into proper account, Russia's U.N. ambassador in Geneva said on Thursday.

"At the moment it is difficult to get a clear idea about the outcome of the negotiations, as the Russia-Ukraine war has just intensified," a Singapore-based trader said. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Mayank Bhardwaj in New Delhi; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Paul Simao)

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