July 30, 2020 / 3:11 AM / 16 days ago

GRAINS-Corn firms after four days of losses, record U.S. crop hopes cap gains

* Corn ticks up on bargain buying after 4 sessions of losses

* Soybeans face pressure as US-China tensions raise demand worries

* Abundant global wheat supplies seen keeping a lid on prices (Recasts with move in corn futures, adds quote in paragraph 3)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, July 30 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose for the first time in five sessions on Thursday with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were curbed by expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest.

Soybeans were little changed after two sessions of losses as elevated tensions between Washington and Beijing stoked demand concerns.

“U.S. weather is almost perfect and we could very well hit a record 400 million tonnes of U.S. corn production,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade climbed 0.2% to $3.27 a bushel by 0250 GMT, having closed down 1.1% in the previous session.

Soybeans were down quarter of a cent at $8.85 a bushel and wheat lost 0.1% at $5.32-1/2 a bushel.

Rains forecasts across the U.S. Midwest this week have pressured the corn market, raising expectations of an all-time high output.

Soybean futures face headwinds from tensions between the United States and China.

With nearly seven months gone, an ambitious $36.5 billion target for Chinese imports of U.S. farm goods this year may not be quite out of reach, but it’s looking like a big, big stretch.

By end-May, imports were running behind 2017 levels - rather than 50% ahead as needed - and while orders for China’s main farm import, soybeans, have started to pick up, scorching levels of buying would be needed to hit the mark.

Ample supplies are likely to keep a lid on wheat prices.

Just months after rains broke Australia’s crippling three-year drought, fields of grain have sprung to life, lifting forecasts for a bumper wheat harvest.

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, soybean and soymeal futures contracts on Wednesday and net buyers of wheat and soyoil futures, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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