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GRAINS-Wheat gains on global food supply concerns; soybeans up 1%
* Soybeans rise as top importer China faces supply squeeze Corn loses ground on grim demand outlook (Adds details on China's soybean shortage, quote in paragraphs 4, 5, and updates prices)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures rose for a second session on Monday as a proposal by the world's top supplier Russia to limit exports amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic raised concerns about global food supply.
Soybean prices were supported by tightening supplies in top importer China, while corn lost ground on grim demand outlook for corn-based fuel ethanol with falling crude oil prices.
Staples such wheat and rice are likely to be in higher demand.
"The 'textbook' case is that demand for food will not change much but there is some switching from the pricier 'luxury' foods to cheaper 'standard' foods," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
"The epidemic though is forcing people to stay at home more and socialise less. And that is causing a very big, and very sudden, switch from consuming food prepared outside the home to food prepared at home."
The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT) added 0.7% to $5.75-1/2 a bushel, as of 0307 GMT, and soybeans were up 1.1% at $8.91-1/2 a bushel.
Corn lost 0.4% to $3.44-1/2 a bushel.
Russia's Agriculture Ministry has proposed to limit grain exports for three months, it said on Friday, prompting concern among traders that the measures by the world's largest wheat exporter could be extended.
Wheat had drawn support too, as panic buying of food staples during the coronavirus crisis fuelled milling demand and spurred speculative buying.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will issue U.S. planting intentions and quarterly stocks reports on Tuesday.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expected the government to project U.S. corn seedings at 94.3 million acres, up from 89.7 million in 2019, and soybean plantings at 84.9 million acres, up from 76.1 million last year, when poor weather curbed acreage of both crops.
Chinese soybean processors fear that the spread of the coronavirus in major exporters could lead to further supply shortages, with some plants in the world's biggest buyer already having to wind back operations, industry sources and traders said.
Argentina's Buenos Aires Grains Exchange on Thursday lowered its estimate of the country's 2019/20 soybean crop to 52 million tonnes, from 54.5 million previously, citing hot and dry weather.
Parts of Argentina's crop belt witnessed rainfall amid forecasts of wetter weather in the next week.
Crude oil benchmarks dropped on Monday, extending last week's losses as the global coronavirus pandemic worsened and the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war showed no signs of abating.
Large speculators increased their net short position in CBOT corn futures in the week ended March 24, regulatory data released on Friday showed.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, trimmed their net short position in CBOT wheat and trimmed their net short position in soybeans. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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