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Corn firms on strong Chinese demand, U.S. banking crisis weighs

Chicago corn rose for a third consecutive session on Thursday, supported by strong Chinese demand and uncertainty over a Black Sea export deal, although gains were limited by a U.S. banking crisis.

Wheat slid for the first time in five sessions, while soybeans gained ground.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.1% to $6.27 a bushel, as of 0227 GMT. Wheat fell 0.6% to $6.98-1/4 a bushel and soybean added 0.2% to 14.92-1/2 a bushel.

Corn prices rose after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed sales of 667,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China for 2022/23 delivery.

Uncertainty over whether a deal to allow grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports would be extended ahead of a deadline later this week continued to drive prices up, traders said, after Kyiv rejected a Russian push for a reduced 60-day renewal.

Turkey said it would continue discussions to extend the deal for 120 days rather than 60 days, while the German government on Wednesday joined calls for Moscow to extend the deal beyond 60 days.

Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest corn and wheat exporters and the creation of the corridor has helped cool global food commodity prices that hit record highs after Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.

Grains in agricultural market were curbed by the U.S. banking crisis.

Asian stocks tumbled on Thursday, and investors bought gold, bonds and the dollar as fear of a banking crisis was reignited by fresh troubles at Credit Suisse, leaving markets on edge ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.

Farmers in Brazil, the world’s top soybean exporter, have harvested over half of an expected record crop, according to analysts.

However, Argentina’s soybean crushing plants are operating at the lowest capacity in history due to the impact of a ferocious drought, the leader of the country’s top grains processing chamber said on Wednesday.

Argentina, the world’s leading exporter of soymeal and soybean oil, is likely to have soybean production of 27 million tonnes this season, the lowest in nearly a quarter century, as a result of low rainfall and high temperatures, Argentina’s Rosario grains exchange has said.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn and wheat futures contracts on Wednesday and were net sellers of soybeans, soymeal and soyoil, traders said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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