CHICAGO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Following are U.S. trade expectations for the opening of grain and soy complex trading at the Chicago Board of Trade at 8:30 a.m. CST (1430 GMT) on Thursday.
* The U.S. Agriculture Department released its export sales report for the week ended Dec. 20 on Thursday morning. Export sales reports had been delayed due to the partial federal government shutdown.
WHEAT - Up 1 to 3 cents per bushel
* Wheat futures firming on technical buying. Gains kept in check as expected bump in export demand for U.S. supplies has not materialized in recent weeks.
* Benchmark CBOT March soft red winter wheat contract found support during overnight trading session at 61.8 percent retracement point on a Fibonacci chart tracking its rally to a five-week high on Jan. 24.
* USDA said that export sales of wheat for the week ended Dec. 20 totaled 602,400 tonnes. Analysts’ forecasts for that week’s export sales had ranged from 200,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes.
* CBOT March wheat last traded up 1/2 cent at $5.17-1/4 per bushel. K.C. March hard red winter wheat was 1/4 cent higher at $5.02-1/2 a bushel and MGEX March spring wheat was up 1-1/2 cents at $5.73.
CORN - Steady to down 2 cents per bushel
* Mild profit-taking setback expected following 1.1 percent gain on Wednesday, which was corn’s biggest daily gain since Jan. 17.
* Most-active March corn contract hit resistance overnight at Wednesday’s high of $3.81-1/2.
* USDA said that export sales of corn for the week ended Dec. 20 totaled 1.753 million tonnes. Analysts’ forecasts for corn export sales that week had ranged from 1.050 million to 1.600 million tonnes.
* CBOT March corn last traded down 3/4 cent at $3.80-1/2 per bushel.
SOYBEANS - Up 2 to 4 cents per bushel
* Soybeans receiving support from trade talks between China and the United States as well as dry conditions in key growing areas of Brazil.
* CBOT March soybean futures rose above the 200-day moving average during overnight trading.
* Traders watching to see if March contract can top this week’s high of $9.25 a bushel, a level it hit resistance at overnight.
* USDA said that export sales of soybeans for the week ended Dec. 20 totaled 2.405 million tonnes. Analysts’ forecasts for soybean export sales that week had ranged from 1.800 million to 2.800 million tonnes.
* U.S. President Donald Trump expressed optimism on Thursday about high-level trade talks with Chinese officials in Washington but said no final deal would be made until he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the near future.
* CBOT March soybeans traded up 2 cents at $9.23 a bushel. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; editing by Jonathan Oatis)