January 6, 2020 / 2:45 AM / 2 months ago

GRAINS-Soybeans inch higher on bargain hunting; U.S. export pace caps gains

SYDNEY, Jan 6 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans edged higher on Monday on some bargain hunting, rebounding from a near two-week low touched in the previous session, but gains were checked by tepid demand for North American supplies.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.1% at $9.42-1/4 a bushel by 0222 GMT, having closed down 1.5% on Friday when prices hit a Dec. 24 low of $9.37-1/2 a bushel.

* The most active corn futures were up 0.1% at $3.87 a bushel, having closed down 1.3% in the previous session when prices hit a low of $3.85-1/2 a bushel, their lowest since Dec 19.

* The most active wheat futures were down 0.2% at$5.53-1/2 a bushel, near the session low of $5.51 a bushel, their lowest since Dec. 27. Wheat closed down 1% on Friday.

* The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said total U.S. soybean export sales last week were 332,047 tonnes, below analysts’ expectations of 350,000 tonnes to 1.05 million tonnes. China bought 160,241 tonnes for 2019/20 delivery, including about 132,000 tonnes switched from unknown destinations.

* Traders are waiting for the USDA to issue crop production data on Jan. 10 amid uncertainty about the size of last year’s corn harvest, which was delayed by cold, wet weather.

* Weekly U.S. corn export sales of 539,991 tonnes were within analysts’ estimates, while wheat sales of 333,250 tonnes were toward the low end of expectations.

* The market is anxious about how the agency adjusts forecasts for crop exports to China, after Washington and Beijing agreed on a Phase 1 trade agreement last month.

MARKET NEWS

* The safe-haven Japanese yen hit a three-month high on Monday, while gold soared as increasing tensions between Iran and the United States sent investors scurrying to less risky assets.

* Oil prices added to recent gains on Monday, with Brent nearly at $70 a barrel as escalating tensions in the Middle East fanned worries about disruptions to supplies.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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