GRAINS-U.S. wheat soars on supply worries as Russia eyes export curbs
* Russia considering wheat export tax, grain export quota
* Concerns rising about tightening wheat supplies
* Tightening supplies underpin corn, soybeans (Rewrites throughout with U.S. market open, adds quote, updates prices, changes byline, previous dateline PARIS/SINGAPORE)
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures surged on Friday on concerns about thinning global supplies after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) slashed its grain stocks outlook and as top supplier Russia pondered export curbs.
Corn and soy futures also rose as tightening supplies, particularly of soybeans, and lingering concerns about South American crops amid dry early-season weather supported prices.
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat was on pace for its strongest weekly gain in five months. Corn was poised for a modest weekly advance, which would be its fifth in six weeks, while soybeans were about steady for the week.
Grain markets were propelled higher by wheat a day after the USDA cut its supply outlook and as Russia considers imposing a wheat export tax and a grain export quota to help stabilize rising domestic food prices.
Meanwhile, Russia's Sovecon agriculture consultancy downgraded its 2021 wheat crop forecast on Friday, citing the worst crop conditions in a decade.
"Global wheat stocks in that report were 5 million tonnes below trade expectations, U.S. stocks came down and there's news about Russia wanting to put quotas and taxes on exports. Wheat is rightfully leading this market higher," said Craig Turner, senior ag broker at Daniels Trading.
CBOT March wheat futures were up 21-1/2 cents at $6.18 a bushel at 11:47 a.m. CST (1747 GMT). The contract has gained 8.5% in three days, the strongest performance for a most-active wheat contract since March.
January soybean futures were up 6 cents at $11.58-3/4 a bushel, while March corn gained 2 cents to $4.23-1/4 a bushel.
Investors are monitoring South American corn and soy prospects following dry early-season weather in key production areas.
Widespread rains are expected in central and southern Brazil and northern Argentina next week, while a drier pattern envelops northern Brazil, according to meteorologists. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Richard Chang)
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