June 23, 2020 / 3:51 AM / 19 days ago

GRAINS-Corn drops to near 3-week low on improved U.S. crop rating

* Chicago corn futures down 0.9%, fall for 2nd session

* U.S. corn rated 72% good-excellent, soybeans 70% -USDA (Recasts with new milestone, adds quote in paragraph 3)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, June 23 (Reuters) - Chicago corn slid for a second session on Tuesday to its lowest in nearly three weeks after the Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the U.S. crop was in a better-than-expected condition.

Wheat dropped, falling for five out of six sessions, on pressure from bumper harvest across the Northern Hemisphere.

“The focus is on supplies as U.S. weather is favourable for both corn and soybeans,” said one Singapore-based trader.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 0.9% at $3.25-1/4 a bushel by 0307 GMT, after dropping to its weakest since June 3 at $3.21 a bushel.

Wheat shed 0.5% at $4.87-1/4 a bushel and soybeans lost 0.1% at $8.75-1/4 a bushel.

The USDA rated 72% of the U.S. corn crop in good to excellent condition in its weekly crop progress report, up 1 percentage point from a week ago.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average had expected corn ratings to decline by 1 percentage point.

Most of the U.S. Crop Watch corn and soybean fields welcomed rain over the last several days, but crops in Illinois, Indiana and North Dakota are still in need of moisture, Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters wrote in a column.

Braun said the harvest of winter wheat was 29% complete, up from 15% last week.

The wheat harvest in Russia, the world’s biggest exporter of the cereal, is set to reach 77.5 million tonnes this year, up 4% on 2019 and the second largest crop on record despite varied results throughout the country, French consultancy Agritel said.

On U.S-China trade front, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday the trade deal with China “continues in place”, adding that his earlier comments that the pact was “over” were taken out of context. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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