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U.S. grains: Soy rallies on strong exports, fresh U.S.-China trade deal optimism

Soybean export sales above expectations; corn, wheat weak

Chicago | Reuters – U.S. soybean futures rebounded from two sessions of declines on Thursday on stronger-than-expected export sales and renewed optimism about an interim U.S.-China trade deal after government officials said it could include a phased rollback of tariffs.

Corn futures slumped for a sixth straight session on weak export demand and investor positioning ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

Wheat was flat to lower on spillover pressure from the corn market and positioning ahead of the USDA report.

Price moves were restrained by caution ahead of Friday’s USDA report, scheduled for release at noon ET (1700 GMT), with the consensus in a Reuters poll suggesting it will cut the outlook for both U.S. soybeans and corn.

Soybeans pushed higher on news overnight after the Chinese commerce ministry said that Beijing and Washington have agreed to cancel in phases the tariffs imposed during their months-long trade war. The market extended gains after a U.S. official confirmed the news.

“You not only have China confirming it, the market likes it even more now that you have U.S. officials confirming it,” said Terry Reilly, senior commodities analyst with Futures International.

Chicago Board of Trade January soybean futures gained 10 cents to $9.37-1/2 a bushel by 12:35 p.m. CST (1835 GMT), the contract’s strongest gain in nearly a month.

The USDA said about 1.8 million tonnes were sold for export last week, above trade expectations for 600,000 to 1.2 million tonnes. The sales included 956,300 tonnes bound for China.

The agency also reported that private exporters sold another 136,000 tonnes of the oilseed to China.

Corn and wheat export sales, however, were near the low end of trade expectations, which weighed on both markets.

CBOT December corn fell 2-1/4 cents to $3.76-1/2 a bushel, the lowest since Sept. 30. The contract has dropped nearly 4% over its six-session slide.

CBOT December wheat was down 1-1/4 cents at $5.15-1/2 a bushel.

– Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore

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