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CIF/FOB Gulf Grain-Corn barge bids firm, soy weak; river levels eyed

Basis bids for corn shipped by barge to the U.S. Gulf Coast firmed on Friday, buoyed by scarce farmer offerings and brisk competition from domestic corn users, while soy barge bids declined in anticipation of a pickup in harvest selling, traders said.

* Freight costs held steady on Friday but falling water levels, which have slowed the movement of barges on Midwest rivers, remained a major worry among traders and shippers.

* Low river levels were a problem during the 2022 harvest and have reemerged in recent weeks, potentially raising costs for U.S. corn and soy at a time when plentiful Brazilian supplies are already posing stiff competition for export business.

* At the Gulf on Friday, CIF corn barges loaded in September were bid at 92 cents over Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) December CZ3 corn futures, up 3 cents from Thursday.

* FOB Gulf October corn offers were up 5 cents at 125 cents over December futures.

* For soybeans, CIF barges loaded in September were bid at 95 cents over CBOT November SX3 futures, down a penny from Thursday’s bid. November-loaded soy barges traded at 81 cents over futures, below Thursday’s trades at 87, 86 and 83 cents over futures, and were re-bid at 80 cents over futures, down 1 cent from Thursday’s last bid.

* Export premiums for soybeans loaded in early October were around 120 cents over CBOT November futures, down a nickel from Thursday, and last-half October offers fell 5 cents to 115 cents over futures.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported export sales of U.S. 2023/24 soybeans in the week ended Aug. 31 at 1.783 million metric tons, in line with trade estimates for 1.4 million to 2 million metric tons.

* Weekly 2023/24 corn sales totaled 949,700 metric tons, toward the high end of trade expectations, and 2023/24 wheat sales totaled 370,300 metric tons, in line with trade expectations for 250,000 to 600,000 tons.

* Under its daily reporting rules, the USDA confirmed private sales of 121,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China.

* Market players await updated U.S. crop estimates due from the USDA on Sept. 12. Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expect the government to lower its yield and production estimates for the U.S. corn and soybean crops.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; editing by Diane Craft)

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