March 9, 2020 / 1:57 AM / 20 days ago

GRAINS-Corn futures drop 2%, soybeans down 1.8% on coronavirus panic

SINGAPORE, March 9 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures slid 2% on Monday while soybeans and wheat lost ground as concerns over the economic fallout from the fast-spreading coronavirus dragged down equities and commodities.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 2% to $3.68-1/2 a bushel by 0136 GMT, soybean slid 1.8% to $8.75 a bushel and wheat gave up 1.7% to $5.07 a bushel.

* The number of people infected with coronavirus topped 107,000 across the world as the outbreak reached more countries and caused more economic damage.

* China’s soybean imports in the first two months of 2020 jumped 14.2% year-on-year, official data showed on Saturday, as cargoes from the United States booked during a trade truce at the end of 2019 cleared customs.

* China, the world’s top market for soybeans, brought in 13.51 million tonnes of the oilseed in January and February, up from 11.83 million tonnes a year earlier, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

* Soy exports from Brazil, which had significant delays in February due to intense rains in coastal cities, are expected to gather pace in southern ports as the weather turns drier in the coming days, according to shipping data and climate forecasts.

* Ukraine’s grain exports have risen about 24% to 41.7 million tonnes so far in the July 2019 to June 2020 season, the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture said on Friday.

* Wheat exports have risen to 16.7 million tonnes, the ministry said, adding Ukraine has exported about 4 million tonnes of barley and 20.4 million tonnes of corn.

* Large speculators trimmed their net short position in CBOT corn futures in the week to March 3, 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, switched to a net short position in CBOT wheat and trimmed their net short position in soybeans.

MARKET NEWS

* Asian shares sank as panicked investors fled to bonds to hedge the economic shock of the virus, and oil plunged more than 20% after Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling price.

DATA/EVENTS 0700 Germany Industrial Output MM Jan (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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