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Wheat set for second monthly gain on Black Sea supply woes

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SINGAPORE — Chicago wheat edged higher on Friday, poised for a second monthly gain, as concerns over supplies from Black Sea region and adverse weather in key exporting countries supported prices.

Corn gained ground, although the grain was on track to finish September largely unchanged. Soybeans have lost almost 1% this month.

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“The market is worried about escalation in Russia-Ukraine war,” one Singapore-based trader said. “Dry conditions in parts of the U.S. Plains and Argentina could threaten production.”

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Investors in the agricultural markets were positioning ahead of Friday’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quarterly U.S. grain stocks and annual small grains reports, with prices being influenced by growing worries over a global recession.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 0.3% at $8.99-1/2 a bushel, as of 0136 GMT. Corn added 0.2% to $6.71 a bushel and soybeans firmed 0.3% to $14.15-1/2 a bushel.

Wheat has risen more than 8% in September, up for a second month in a row.

The wheat market was set to end the third quarter with marginal gains, while corn climbing 6.7% and soybeans were poised to finish the three-month period ending September in negative territory.

Russia is poised to annex a swath of Ukraine after what Kyiv and the West denounced as illegal sham referendums in occupied territory, while the European Union investigated a leak from Russian gas pipelines it believes was due to sabotage, fueling doubts about whether a U.N.-supervised shipping corridor for Ukrainian grain will last.

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Ideal harvest weather this week in much of the U.S. Midwest is expected to show strong harvest progress when the USDA updates its crop progress report on Monday.

Soybeans were supported by stronger-than-expected weekly export sales of 973,000 tonnes during the week ended Sept. 22, besting analyst predictions of 250,000 to 850,000 tonnes.

Corn sales of 672,100 tonnes and wheat sales of 250,100 tonnes were in line with trade forecasts.

Argentina’s corn planting is well behind the pace of last year due to a prolonged drought, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Thursday, noting that 5.8% of the area expected for the cereal had been sown, 11 percentage points behind a year before.

Brazil, the world’s biggest soybeans supplier, has overtaken the United States as the most competitive shipper of the oilseed to top importer China, the head of rail company Rumo said on Thursday.

Rumo Chief Executive Joao de Abreu noted Brazil’s cost per tonne in dollars to ship soy to China was lower than that of the United States in the first half of this year.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT soyoil and soybean futures contracts on Thursday and net sellers of soymeal and wheat futures, traders said. Funds were net neutral on corn futures contracts. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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