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Wheat drops on rising odds of Ukraine export deal extension, corn down

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SINGAPORE — Chicago wheat futures slid on Tuesday, falling for the first time in three sessions, weighed down by rising expectations that an export corridor deal for Ukrainian grains would be renewed.

Corn ticked lower, while soybeans firmed.

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“Market sentiment got a material, but ultimately brief, lift when Saudi Arabia bought a lot more milling wheat at tender than they originally planned,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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“The renewal, or otherwise, of Ukraine’s Black Sea grain corridor this week remains the elephant in the room that is tempering activity. We expect the corridor will, ultimately, be renewed. But, like most, we are wary of what kind of disruptive skulduggery Russia’s president might think of.”

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) fell 0.1% to $8.17-3/4 a bushel, as of 0258 GMT. Corn lost 0.2% to $6.56-1/4 a bushel and soybeans added 0.2% to $14.42-3/4 a bushel.

The Kremlin said on Monday that talks with the United Nations last week on a deal safeguarding the shipment of grain from Ukrainian ports had been “fairly constructive,” raising hopes that it can be rolled over smoothly.

Senior U.N. officials met a Russian delegation in Geneva on Friday to discuss Moscow’s grievances about the Black Sea grain initiative, which has lifted a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s seaports.

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Wheat prices rose on Monday with strong demand supporting the market.

Saudi state buyer SAGO said on Monday it had bought just over 1 million tonnes of wheat in an international tender, with traders suggesting Russian wheat may be used to cover a large part of the optional-origin purchase.

Private analytics firm IHS Markit Agribusiness, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, projected an increase in U.S. corn plantings for 2023, according to portions of an IHS client note seen by Reuters.

The firm projected U.S. 2023 corn plantings at 91.968 million acres, the document showed, up some 25,000 acres from its October forecast and up from the 88.608 million acres farmers planted in 2022.

Rains in Argentina’s farm belt over the weekend will allow farmers to speed up the delayed planting of soybeans, analysts at the country’s two major grain exchanges said on Monday, a boost for the world’s top soy oil and meal exporter that has been hit by a severe lack of rainfall.

Large speculators cut their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week to Nov. 8, regulatory data released on Monday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly commitments of traders report also showed that non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their net short position in CBOT wheat and cut their net long position in soybeans. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Savio D’Souza)

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