March 13, 2020 / 3:47 AM / 23 days ago

GRAINS-Soybeans near 10-month low as economic worries deepen; corn, wheat down

* Soybeans face biggest weekly drop since July 2018

* Corn set for biggest weekly loss in over 6 months

* Wheat poised for 3rd straight weekly fall (Adds quote in paragraph 3, details on Argentina’s crop outlook, funds)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, March 13 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures slid nearly 1.5% on Friday with the market on track for its biggest weekly drop since July 2018 as mounting worries over the economic damage from the coronavirus outbreak pulled down global markets.

Corn faced its biggest weekly drop in more than six months, while wheat was poised for a third week of loss.

“Panic spread through global markets, with commodities coming under increasing pressure as governments battle to halt the pandemic,” ANZ said in a note.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was down 1.4% to $8.47-1/4 a bushel by 0317 GMT, after dropping to its lowest since May 28 at 8.45-1/4 a bushel.

The market has given up nearly 5% this week, the biggest since July 2018.

Corn fell 0.5% to $3.64 a bushel and wheat gave up 0.9% to $5.00-3/4 a bushel. For the week, corn has lost 3.3%, the most since September, while wheat was down nearly 3%.

Global markets suffered record falls on Thursday as alarm over the coronavirus intensified, and governments from Ireland to Fiji unveiled new measures to try to slow the spread of a disease that has infected more than 127,000 people worldwide.

Argentina’s 2019/20 soybean harvest is expected at 52 million tonnes, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said in its weekly crop report on Thursday, citing dry weather as the reason for cutting its previous 54.5 million tonne forecast.

Consultancy Strategie Grains on Thursday raised its estimate for European Union soft wheat exports this season to take account of large sales from Germany, although French exports were revised lower as they lost competitiveness.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported export sales of old-crop corn in the week to March 5 at nearly 1.5 million tonnes, above analyst expectations.

U.S. export sales of pork to China hit their lowest on record in the week ended March 5 even as access to ports improved in the world’s top consumer of pork, the USDA said.

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, soybean, soyoil and wheat futures contracts on Thursday and net buyers of soymeal futures, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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