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GRAINS-Wheat, corn, soy fall on economic concerns as Midwest harvest nears

(New throughout, updates prices and market activity to U.S. close)

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures fell more than 4% and corn and soybeans slipped on Thursday on mounting concerns about a global economic slowdown, analysts said, just as the Midwest crop harvest nears.

Wall Street stocks came under pressure as data showing that U.S. manufacturing grew steadily in August rattled some investors who worry that a strong economy strengthens the case for the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates. U.S. stocks staged a late rally to eke out modest gains, but crude oil futures settled down about 3%.

Chicago Board of Trade December wheat settled down 37-1/4 cents at $7.94-1/4 a bushel. CBOT December corn ended down 12-1/2 cents at $6.58 a bushel and November soybeans fell 27-3/4 cents to close at $13.94-3/4 a bushel.

Wheat posted the biggest declines on a percentage basis as the U.S. dollar surged, making U.S. grains less competitive globally.

Wheat exports from Russia, the top global supplier, are expected to rise to 4 million tonnes in September from 3.5 million tonnes in August as a bumper crop begins to reach the market, traders and industry analysts said.

Meanwhile, seasonal pressure weighed on corn and soybeans as both crops neared maturity in the U.S. crop belt.

"It's the time of year when the grains tend to be bearish. In some of these markets, harvest has already started," said Craig Turner, a grain broker with commodity brokerage StoneX.

Fundamental news was relatively thin. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly export sales report, normally released on Thursdays, was delayed until at least Sept. 15 due to problems with the launch of a new reporting system.

"Without any kind of major demand driver, the market will sell off along with everything else, stocks and energy," Turner said.

Traders shrugged off news of fresh U.S. soy sales. The USDA confirmed private sales of 396,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations, the latest in a series of export deals over the last two weeks.

After the CBOT close, StoneX lowered its estimate of the average U.S. 2022 corn yield to 173.2 bushels per acre (bpa), from 176.0 a month ago. For soybeans, StoneX raised its U.S. yield forecast to 51.8 bpa, from 51.3 previously. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris and Emily Chow in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Shinjini Ganguli, Alexander Smith and David Gregorio)

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