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GRAINS-Chicago soybeans hit 4-year high on strong demand, weather worries

* Soybeans up for 6th session, at highest since July 2016

* Chinese demand, worries over South American weather support (Adds quote in paragraphs 3-4; details on CFTC positions, booming grain demand)

SINGAPORE, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans rose for a sixth consecutive session on Monday, climbing to their highest in more than four years on the back of strong Chinese demand and dryness in parts of top producer Brazil.

Corn retreated from a 14-month peak hit on Friday while wheat eased after sharp gains in the previous session.

“China has been buying a lot more soybeans and corn than previously,” said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

“There are weather concerns for not just soybeans but across the grains complex.”

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 0.4% at $10.87-3/4 a bushel by 301 GMT, near the session peak of $10.89-3/4 a bushel - the highest since July 2016.

Corn lost 0.3% to $4.18 a bushel, having climbed to its highest since August 2019 on Friday, while wheat fell 0.4% to $6.30 a bushel after jumping 1.6% in the previous session.

STRONG DEMAND, DRY WEATHER

China has stepped up purchases of U.S. agriculture products in recent months, with the country buying 9.8 million tonnes of soybeans from all origins in September, up 19% from a year earlier.

The country’s imports of soybeans from Brazil jumped 51.4% in September from a year ago, data showed on Sunday, as cargoes purchased earlier in the year cleared customs.

Authorities in China are expected to issue more import quotas and buy millions of tonnes of additional corn in the new crop marketing year, three industry sources said, amid a surge in animal feed demand and tightening supplies.

The customs data released on Friday showed China’s corn shipments for the first nine months of the year were close to its annual low-tariff quota volume for the first time on record.

There are also worries about dry weather in Brazil where planting for soybeans is underway.

Wheat has drawn support in recent days from dry weather in the key global producing regions, which has raised concerns about supply and prompted importers to step up purchases of the grain.

Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, bought 165,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international purchase tender, it said on Friday.

Ukraine is likely to ship abroad most of its 2020/21 wheat export quota by March-April 2021, traders said on Friday.

Large speculators raised their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week to Oct. 20, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, raised their net long positions in CBOT wheat and soybeans.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected a banner performance over the next year for domestic corn and soybean exports, and so far, sales have been living up to the hype,” Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters, wrote in a column.

“Those bookings have translated to a record shipment pace for soybeans, but corn has yet to turn out the drastically larger export volumes.” (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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