October 29, 2019 / 3:30 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-Soybeans struggle on U.S. harvest progress; wheat rebounds

* U.S. harvest progress weighs on soybeans, corn futures

* Washington-Beijing trade agreement in focus

* Wheat comes off 2-week low (Adds details, quote)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures ticked down on Tuesday while corn slid for a second session on U.S. harvest progress.

Wheat edged higher after dropping to its lowest in almost two weeks on Monday.

The Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybean contract slid 0.1% at $9.35 a bushel, as of 0323 GMT. Corn fell 0.1% at $3.83-3/4 a bushel and wheat gained 0.2% at $5.12-1/2 a bushel.

U.S. farmers have harvested 62% of their soybean crop, up from 46% a week ago although below the average pace of 78% at this time of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said after the market closed on Monday.

U.S. corn harvest stood at 41%, up from 30% a week ago and lower than the average pace of 61%, the agency said.

The U.S. Crop Watch growers report decent progression of the corn and soybean harvests last week, and the overall sentiment toward the crop is unchanged on the week, Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters, wrote in a column.

“However, parts of North Dakota continue to struggle in the wet conditions, which are preventing harvest equipment from entering the fields.”

There are expectations of rapid progress in harvest of both crops in the days ahead with forecasts of generally dry weather across parts of the U.S. grain belt.

The market is watching progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

U.S. and Chinese officials are “close to finalising” some parts of a trade agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and China’s Commerce Ministry said, with talks to continue.

“For soybeans, the lack of any ‘bounce’ after Friday’s sharp fall is perhaps worth noting,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“That suggests again that the putative fact of a U.S.-China trade deal was already priced.”

The U.S. Trade Representative is studying whether to extend tariff suspensions on $34 billion of Chinese goods set to expire on Dec. 28 this year, the agency said on Monday.

Analysts also noted uncertainty surrounding any potential change to Argentina’s grain and soybean export tax policy after the election of Alberto Fernandez as the country’s next president.

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

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