* Corn gains more ground, trades near last session’s 6-week high
* Strong Chinese demand driving Chicago corn, soybean prices higher (Adds quote in paragraph 3, updates prices)
SINGAPORE, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures gained more ground on Wednesday with prices trading near their highest in six weeks, as expectations of strong Chinese demand underpinned the market.
Soybeans climbed to a seven-month high, while wheat rose for a second consecutive session.
“The gains in corn prices have two principal causes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reporting a 5 percentage point drop in good/excellent crop ratings is one,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The other is some hefty U.S. exports to China.”
The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 0.1% to $3.54-3/4 a bushel, by 0250 GMT.
Soybeans were up 0.2% at $9.22-1/4 a bushel, after climbing earlier in the session to the highest since Jan. 21 at $9.23 a bushel and wheat rose 0.3% to $5.37 a bushel.
Top U.S. and Chinese officials reaffirmed their commitment to a Phase 1 trade deal, which has seen China lagging on its obligations to buy American goods, giving a boost to financial markets on Tuesday.
The USDA on Tuesday said Chinese importers bought more U.S. soybeans and booked their largest single-day U.S. corn purchase in nearly a month.
In a daily export sales announcement, the USDA said Chinese importers bought 408,000 tonnes of U.S. corn and 204,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans, both for shipment in the 2020/21 marketing year which begins on Sept. 1. The corn sale was the largest since a July 30 announcement of nearly 2 million tonnes in sales to China.
The agency said good-to-excellent ratings for the U.S. crop sank to 64% in the week ended Aug. 23, down 5 percentage points from the prior week.
The U.S. corn harvest is about a month away from ramping up, but there is more uncertainty over production outcomes than there has been all season after prolonged dry weather and a severe windstorm damaged crops in the heart of the Corn Belt, Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters wrote in a column.
Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, wheat, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Tuesday, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
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