December 20, 2018 / 3:50 AM / in 6 months

GRAINS-Soybean prices fall to 3-wk low as Chinese demand underwhelms

    * Traders eyes Chinese purchases of U.S. beans
    * U.S.-China trade war truce fuels expectations
    * Wheat ticks higher, corn unchanged

    By Colin Packham
    SYDNEY, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean prices hit a
three-week low on Thursday, with investors disappointed by the
strength of Chinese demand for North American supplies amid a
truce in a trade war between the two nations.
    Corn prices held steady, while wheat rose after slumping 2
percent in the previous session.
    The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of
Trade were down 0.4 percent at $8.96-1/2 a bushel by 0203
GMT, their lowest since Nov. 30. Soybeans closed down 0.7
percent on Wednesday.
    "The market is disappointed by Chinese demand. Eventually,
they will have to come to the market in larger volumes, but the
market has clearly been expecting more," said Phin Ziebell,
agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.
    China's Sinograin said it had recently bought a few batches
of soybeans from the United States, the first official
confirmation from the Chinese side of such buying.
    The most active wheat futures were up 0.3 percent
at$5.24 a bushel, having closed 2.1-percent lower on Wednesday.
    Wheat prices have come under pressure amid ample global
supplies that have dented demand for U.S. cargoes.
    The most active corn futures were unchanged at
$3.81-3/4 a bushel, having ended 0.7-percent lower in the
previous session.
    Analysts noted pressure from weaker ethanol production.
    Some ethanol makers have slowed output because of poor
profits, threatening corn demand from an industry that consumes
about a third of the U.S. harvest.
    U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed output at
an average of 1.046 million barrels per day last week, unchanged
from the previous week.
 Grains prices at  0314 GMT
 Contract       Last    Change    Pct chg   Two-day chg     MA 30
 CBOT wheat   524.00      1.50     +0.29%        -1.64%    518.43
 CBOT corn    381.75      0.00     +0.00%        -0.97%    379.32
 CBOT soy     896.50     -3.50     -0.39%        -1.24%    894.64
 CBOT rice     10.44    -$0.06     -0.57%        -0.85%    $10.73
 WTI crude     47.43    -$0.74     -1.54%        +2.57%    $52.94
 Euro/dlr     $1.138    $0.000     +0.04%        +0.16%          
 USD/AUD      0.7101    -0.001     -0.08%        -1.10%          
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
 RSI 14, exponential
 (Reporting by Colin Packham
Editing by Joseph Radford)
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