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336473

GRAINS-Wheat firms on U.S. winter crop concerns, Black Sea supplies weigh

SINGAPORE, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat edged higher on Tuesday, as concerns over dryness across the U.S. winter crop regions underpinned the market, although ample supplies from the Black Sea region limited gains.

Soybeans slid on concerns over demand from top importer China, which is facing rising number of COVID-19 cases.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.1% to $8.18-3/4 a bushel, as of 0108 GMT. Soybeans lost 0.2% to $14.34-1/2 a bushel and corn gained 0.1% at $6.60 a bushel.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday rated 32% of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week, while analysts on average had expected a 1-point improvement.

* The wheat ratings are the lowest for this time of year in USDA records dating to 1986. A year ago, 44% of the winter wheat crop was rated good to excellent.

* The newly planted crop has struggled with dry conditions as 75% of the U.S. winter wheat production area is experiencing drought, according to the government.

* Russian wheat prices fell last week amid an extension of the Black Sea deal allowing Ukrainian grain shipments, analysts said on Monday.

* Prices for Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content and for supply from Black Sea ports in December were at $314 a tonne free on board (FOB) on Friday evening, down $3.5 from a week earlier, the IKAR agriculture consultancy said in a note.

* Tightened COVID-19 rules in China fuelled worries over the global economic outlook and demand for commodities. Beijing warned it was facing its most severe test of the coronavirus pandemic.

* Traders also worried about a potential year-end U.S. rail strike, after workers at the largest rail union voted against a tentative contract deal reached in September.

* Winter crops in most of Europe were off to a good start, helped by historically warm weather and sufficient moisture, but a lack of rain is prompting concern in the southern region, the European Union's crop monitor MARS said on Monday.

* Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT soybean, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Monday and net sellers of corn and wheat futures, traders said.

MARKET NEWS

* Global stocks and oil prices slipped on Monday as a spike in COVID-19 cases and newly recorded deaths in China prompted authorities in the world's second-largest economy to reinstate lockdowns, triggering worries over the economy.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 1500 EU Consumer Confid. Flash Nov (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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