Content ID

334882

GRAINS-Wheat at four-week low with Black Sea corridor in focus

* Ongoing talks on Black Sea corridor maintain hopes for extension * U.S. corn and soybean harvests ahead of five-year average pace * U.S. export pace and economic uncertainty also weigh on grains (Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral PARIS/SINGAPORE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures slipped to a four-week low as investors saw some hopeful signs in ongoing talks to extend a wartime shipping lane for Ukrainian grain. Corn and soybeans also eased as an advancing U.S. harvest created some supply pressure. A firm U.S. dollar and weaker crude oil curbed grain futures as fears of an economic downturn stalked commodity markets. The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 1% at $8.52-3/4 a bushel after touching its lowest since Sept. 20. December wheat, the most active contract on Paris-based Euronext, also hit a four-week low. Wheat markets have been grappling with mixed indications over the United Nations-backed shipping corridor, which has allowed Ukraine's exports to pick up despite the war with Russia. Talks in Moscow between U.N. and Russian officials, described by U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric as "positive and constructive", encouraged the view that the corridor deal could be extended. "Attention on the wheat markets remains focused on the negotiations," Commerzbank said in a note, adding that a price fall after the U.N. spokesman's comments was a "foretaste" of what might happen if a deal is concluded. However, traders say the Black Sea supply situation remains fraught, as illustrated by news that Russian drones hit sunflower oil tanks in the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv. Disruption to the Black Sea corridor could turn attention back to global supply risks, including drought in Argentine and U.S. wheat belts, as well as torrential rain in parts of Australia ahead of harvesting. CBOT corn was down 0.8% at $6.78 a bushel. Soybeans eased 0.3% to $13.81 a bushel. A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Monday showed that the corn harvest was 45% complete by mid-October, slightly below market forecasts but ahead of the five-year average. The U.S. soybean harvest was 63% complete, above the five-year average of 52%. Traders are also assessing U.S. export prospects, which have been complicated by a strong dollar and low water levels on the Mississippi river, a major route for transporting grain to U.S. Gulf export terminals. Prices at 1144 GMT Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2021 Move CBOT wheat 852.75 -8.25 -0.96 770.75 10.64 CBOT corn 678.00 -5.50 -0.80 593.25 14.29 CBOT soy 1381.00 -4.25 -0.31 1339.25 3.12 Paris wheat 342.25 -4.00 -1.16 276.75 23.67 Paris maize 329.25 -3.50 -1.05 226.00 45.69 Paris rape 613.00 -7.75 -1.25 754.00 -18.70 WTI crude oil 85.41 -0.05 -0.06 75.21 13.56 Euro/dlr 0.98 0.00 -0.07 1.1368 -13.52 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne (Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by Uttaresh.V, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and David Goodman )

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