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Chicago grains slump over 2% on demand worries, supply pressures

Chicago grains futures slumped more than 2% on Thursday, dragged down by worries about demand as global recession risks emerged, with supply concerns easing after a U.S. official said Russian food and fertilizer exports were not subject to sanctions.

Supply pressure from early harvesting in the United States and European grain belts also continued to weigh on prices.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 2.1% at $9.68-1/4 a bushel, as of 0506 GMT, after hitting its lowest since March 1 at $9.60-3/4.

Corn lost 2.3% to $6.77-1/2 a bushel, after earlier falling to its weakest since Feb. 28 at $6.76.

Soybeans fell 2.3% to $14.42 a bushel, after touching its lowest since Jan. 27 at $14.33.

“Stymied investor risk appetite amid discussions of a humanitarian export corridor for Ukrainian food exports, downside global growth risks and hand to mouth consumer buying” have kept a lid on prices despite tight global supplies, J.P.Morgan analysts said in a note.

Countries should ask the United States for help if they have any problems importing Russian food and fertilizer, U.S. State Department Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Assistant Secretary, Ramin Toloui, said on Wednesday.

Toloui also said Washington was supportive of efforts by U.N. and Turkish officials to broker a package deal with Moscow that would also allow for shipments of Ukraine grain from the Black Sea port of Odesa.

Ankara’s military delegation will travel to Russia this week to discuss details of a possible safe sea corridor in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain, Turkish presidency sources said on Tuesday.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine halted Kyiv’s Black Sea grain exports, further tightening global supplies that has sparked fears of a worldwide food crisis.

Russia and Ukraine together account for a quarter of global grains trade.

Losses in crude oil prices, which pulled back as investors recalibrated assessments of recession risks, also weighed on grains markets.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)

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