March 18, 2020 / 2:06 AM / 12 days ago

GRAINS-Soybeans jump 1% but virus fears cap gains

SYDNEY, March 18 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans jumped 1% on Wednesday as a $1 trillion stimulus package boosted market sentiment, though gains were checked by concerns that global policy impetus would not be enough to counter the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade rose 1% at $8.33 a bushel by 0121 GMT, having firmed 0.3% on Tuesday.

* The most-active corn futures were unchanged at $3.44 a bushel, near its session low of $3.42-1/4 a bushel - the lowest since June 2018. Corn fell 3% in the previous session.

* The most-active wheat futures were little changed at $4.99-1/2 a bushel, having closed 0.6% higher on Tuesday.

* Fears over the economic hit from the virus has weighed on grains prices, while demand for U.S. exports has been stifled by a stronger dollar as companies and investors seek the most liquid currency in an uncertain market.

* A strong dollar makes U.S. commodities relatively more expensive on the global market.

* The Trump administration on Tuesday supplemented a global effort to combat the pandemic, by unveiling a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 cheques to Americans within two weeks.

* The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday said good-to-excellent ratings for hard red winter wheat in Kansas, the top production state for the crop, slipped to 46% from 47%. But ratings improved in Texas and Oklahoma.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar held overnight gains against most major currencies on Wednesday, after U.S. yields jumped and as deepening fear around the coronavirus drove a scramble for greenback.

* Oil prices steadied early on Wednesday after sliding to their lowest in four years, sapped by fears for fuel demand and the global economy amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic in a number of countries around the world.

* The S&P 500 rose 6% on Tuesday, clawing back a significant portion of Monday’s steep losses, as the Federal Reserve and the White House took further steps to boost liquidity and stem damage from the coronavirus outbreak that has gripped the global economy.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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