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Hesitant market awaits more clues on crop weather

PARIS/SYDNEY - U.S. grain and soybean futures were little changed on Thursday as the market weighed up short-term weather risks to crops against a broader picture of ample global supply. Traders were turning their attention to the U.S. Department...

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PARIS/SYDNEY - U.S. grain and soybean futures were little changed on Thursday as the market weighed up short-term weather risks to crops against a broader picture of ample global supply.

Traders were turning their attention to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's August crop report, due next Wednesday, which is closely followed for its corn and soybean harvest outlook.

The subdued mood in grains also reflected restrained activity in wider financial markets as investors awaited U.S. jobs data on Friday.

A dry weather outlook in parts of the U.S. Midwest has sparked some concern about stress to corn and particularly soybeans, adding to uncertainty about the size of this year's soybean acreage after torrential rain during planting.

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But a raised U.S. soybean crop forecast from private analytical firm Informa Economics helped counter a rally that saw soybean futures hit a one-week high on Wednesday.

"Every new forecast seems to be bringing something new and the market seems to be reacting to that pretty quickly," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank.

"Weather is the biggest concern, though global supply looks alright."

Chicago Board of Trade new-crop November soybeans fell 0.1 percent to $9.52 a bushel by 1021 GMT, as it consolidated below a one-week top of $9.56-1/4 touched on Wednesday.

December corn eased 0.1 percent to $3.83-3/4 a bushel and September wheat added 0.7 percent to $5.05-1/2 a bushel.

In a note to clients on Wednesday, Informa projected U.S. soybean output at 3.789 billion bushels, up from a July 8 estimate of 3.77 billion. The company left its corn output estimate unchanged at 13.412 billion bushels.

Generally favorable prospects for corn production in the United States, South America and Ukrainewere tempering concern about damage to corn in the European Union from persistent hot, dry conditions.

"Harvest prospects for the big exporters are good," French consultancy ODA Groupe said in a note. "The shortfall in EU production should therefore be compensated by imports."

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U.S. wheat found technical support at the psychological $5 threshold, but was hampered by swelling harvest supply in the northern hemisphere and stiff export competition.

Egypt bought 120,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in a tender on Wednesday, in which offers of U.S. wheat were priced far above Black Sea and French origins.

The market will get a further indication of export demand from weekly U.S. grain export sales figures due at 1230 GMT.

France, the EU's top grain producer, is heading towards a record wheat harvest, analysts said on Wednesday, after yields showed limited impact from dry, hot weather.

Related Topics: SOYBEANSMARKETSCROPSCORN
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