June 22, 2020 / 5:05 PM / 14 days ago

GRAINS-Corn drops on good U.S. crop weather, soybeans mostly down

* Midwest rains bolster recently planted corn, soybeans

* Hotter weather expected next week in U.S. farm belt

* Chinese demand for U.S. farm products underpinning markets (Rewrites throughout with U.S. market open, adds quote, updates prices, changes byline, changes dateline from SINGAPORE/PARIS)

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, June 22 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures declined for the first time in four sessions on Monday as warm weather and scattered rains across a large swathe of the Midwest farm belt bolstered development of the recently planted crop.

Soybeans were mostly lower as favorable U.S. weather outweighed support from improving demand from top importer China.

Wheat futures edged higher on short-covering and technical buying after four days of losses last week took prices to 9-1/2 month lows.

Widespread rain is expected across the region this week, with the heaviest amounts in parts of Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, among the top corn and soy states, meteorologists said. Hotter weather is expected beginning next week.

The improved near-term weather could help stabilize corn and soybean crop conditions, which analysts believe declined slightly in the past week.

“The far western corn belt was too dry, so the crop ratings probably are going down this week. But we got a shot of rain here now and the forecast maps don’t show excessive heat this week,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) July corn fell 4 cents to $3.28-1/2 a bushel by 11:40 a.m. CDT (1640 GMT), while July soybeans were down 1/4 cent at $8.76-1/4 a bushel. CBOT July wheat gained 1-1/4 cents to $4.82-1/2 a bushel.

Grain traders are watching for further signs of Chinese demand for soybeans and other commodities as Beijing works to fulfill its Phase 1 trade deal purchasing commitments.

Talks last week between U.S. and Chinese officials encouraged hopes that Beijing would continue to buy American farm goods after a recent flurry of U.S. soybean purchases since the end of May.

Reporting by Karl Plume Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by David Goodman and Lisa Shumaker

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