July 20, 2018 / 1:30 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-Corn set for biggest weekly gain in almost 3 months on strong demand

    SINGAPORE, July 20 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose for
a fifth consecutive session on Friday with the market poised for
its biggest weekly gain since late April on the back of strong
demand and dryness in parts of U.S. Midwest.
    Soybeans are on track for their biggest weekly rise in
nearly two months, while wheat rose for a second session as dry
weather curbs output in Europe and the Black Sea region.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * For the week, the Chicago Board of Trade most-active corn
contract       was up 3.1 percent, the most since the week
ending April 27, while soybeans       gained 3.6 percent, their
biggest since May 25.
    * Wheat       rose 1.8 percent, recouping some of last
week's deep losses.
    * Recent hot and dry weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest
has raised concerns that corn and soybean yields may be lower
than what was expected earlier.
    * In Argentina, the 2017-18 corn crop is estimated at 31
million tonnes, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on
Thursday, citing a four-month yield-wilting drought that ended
in April as the reason for cutting its previous 32-million-tonne
estimate. 
    * There is additional support stemming from strong demand
for U.S. corn imports. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said
weekly corn export sales of 1.416 million tonnes topped
analysts' estimates.             
    * Soybean export sales totalled 865,700 tonnes in the latest
reporting week, in line with analysts' expectations and U.S.
wheat export sales of 300,000 tonnes were also in line with
expectations. 
    * Dry weather in Europe and the Black Sea region have
reduced global surplus, helping lift wheat prices this week,
traders said.             
    * Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, wheat,
soybean and soymeal futures contracts on Thursday, and net
sellers of soyoil, traders said.              
        
    MARKET NEWS
    * Asian stocks eked out modest gains on Friday as investor
caution prevailed amid concerns about the European Union
imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, while U.S. President
Donald Trump's criticism of Federal Reserve policy knocked the
dollar.            

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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