January 13, 2020 / 2:38 AM / 6 days ago

GRAINS-Soybeans firm as U.S.-China trade deal signing day nears

SYDNEY, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures edged higher on Monday as the market eyed the signing of the Phase 1 trade deal between Washington and Beijing this week, which calls for significant purchases of U.S. agricultural supplies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 0.2% to $9.47-3/4 a bushel by 0149 GMT. The contract on Friday recovered from a near three-week low of $9.35-1/2 per bushel to end 0.3% higher.

* Corn futures were up 0.5% at $3.87-1/2 a bushel, having gained 0.7% in the previous session.

* Wheat futures fell 0.2% to $5.63-1/4 a bushel, having closed up 0.4% on Friday.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday the deal reached on Dec. 13 still calls for China to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products annually and a total of $200 billion of U.S. goods over two years.

* The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) raised its corn and soybean yield estimates, which surprised some traders following unfavourable crop weather last year and a challenging harvest thereafter. The increases were partly offset by fewer harvested acres.

* U.S. corn production for the 2019/20 marketing year was 13.692 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 168.0 bushels per acre. Soybean production was 3.558 billion bushels, with average yields of 47.4 bushels per acre.

* But the agency said it would resurvey farmers in five northern states where poor weather left many acres unharvested.

* U.S. winter wheat plantings declined, as expected, to the lowest point since 1909, although the USDA’s estimate was slightly above the average trade forecast.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar began the week supported by optimism on the Sino-U.S. trade front, while the pound wobbled lower after weekend hints at an interest rate cut from a Bank of England policymaker.

* Oil prices edged down as fears of conflict between the United States and Iran eased, although the decline was checked by the planned signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal this week, which could boost demand.

Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Uttaresh.V

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