December 20, 2019 / 1:52 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-Soybeans firm, set to gain 2% for the week

SYDNEY, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans edged higher on Friday, with the oilseed poised to record a weekly gain of 2% as an initial trade deal between Washington and Beijing boosted prospects of increased demand from China.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active soybeans futures were up 0.2% at $9.26 a bushel, after closing down 0.4% on Thursday. They have gained 2% so far this week, headed for their third straight week of gains.

* The most active corn futures were up 1.5% for the week, set for their second straight weekly gain.

* The most active wheat futures were up 2.5% for the week, on track for their second straight weekly gain.

* Favourable crop weather could boost production in Argentina and Brazil, increasing global supplies and competition for export sales to buyers like China. Rains will ease dry conditions in southern Argentina and also bring relief to drier areas of Brazil, Commodity Weather Group said.

* Argentine soy planting advanced 8.9 percentage points over the last week, reaching 70.2% of expected sowing area thanks to rains that relieved excessively dry conditions, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said in a report on Thursday.

* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday the United States and China would sign the phase one trade deal at the beginning of January.

MARKET NEWS

* Sterling headed for its worst week in more than two years on Friday, hobbled by familiar fears of a chaotic British exit from the European Union, while firm data helped the dollar arrest its recent slide.

* Oil prices reached the highest level in three months in thin pre-Christmas trading on Thursday, buoyed by the previous day’s news that U.S. crude inventories declined and as U.S.-China trade tensions continued to ease.

* Wall Street’s major indexes resumed their rally with fresh records on Thursday as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said an initial U.S.-China trade deal would be signed in early January. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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