June 10, 2020 / 2:24 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-Soybeans gain on China demand, wheat falls for fourth day

* Chinese purchases underpin Chicago soybean futures

* Improved U.S. rating lifts expectations for bumper crop

* Wheat falls for 4th session as Australia raises crop forecast (Adds quote in paragraph 3, updates prices)

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, June 10 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans rose on Wednesday, supported by solid demand from the world’s biggest importer China, while corn ticked lower.

Wheat fell for a fourth consecutive session after Australia raised its forecast for wheat production by more than a quarter following recent rains.

“China is key to soybean prices for now as they are buying U.S. beans,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. “There are lots of things pivoting on China.”

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT) added 0.1% to $8.64 a bushel by 0204 GMT. Wheat lost 0.4% to $5.02-3/4 a bushel, while corn gave up 0.3% to $3.26-1/2 a bushel.

China’s state-owned trader Sinograin bought at least 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans for shipment in December from U.S. Pacific Northwest ports, two U.S. traders familiar with the deals said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) weekly crop conditions report, issued after the market close on Monday, rated 75% of the U.S. corn crop as “good to excellent”, up from 74% last week and aligned with average analyst estimates in a Reuters poll.

For soybeans, the USDA rated 72% of the crop as “good to excellent”, up from 70% last week, and 82% of U.S. spring wheat as “good to excellent”, above analyst expectations of 80%.

Australia raised its estimate for wheat production in the 2020/21 season by more than 25% on Wednesday after recent heavy rains broke a three-year drought that has ravaged the country’s east coast.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said wheat production for the year ending June 30, 2021 will total 26.7 million tonnes, up from its March estimate of 21.3 million tonnes.

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

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