August 7, 2018 / 5:18 PM / 6 months ago

GRAINS-Soybeans jump as U.S. crop ratings erode, wheat retreats

    * Soybeans rebound as USDA cuts crop condition rating
    * Wheat eases on limited U.S. export demand

 (Rewrites with U.S. market trade, adds quote, updates prices;
changes byline, dateline, previous HAMBURG)
    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures firmed on
Tuesday after a weekly government survey lowered condition
ratings for the U.S. crop by more than expected, raising concern
about a smaller harvest this autumn.
    Wheat retreated after closing at a three-year high on
Monday, weighed down by slow demand for U.S. exports despite
expected crop shortfalls in several major exporting countries.
    Corn eased along with wheat, although losses were limited by
good demand and tightening global supplies.
    Grain traders are taking positions ahead of Friday's monthly
U.S. Department of Agriculture supply and demand reports, the
first of the season to include field surveys for U.S. crops.
    Weeks of hot, dry weather in parts of the U.S. Midwest are
believed to be eroding yield potential for corn and soybeans.
    The USDA said on Monday that 67 percent of the soybean crop
is in good to excellent condition, below market expectations of
69 percent. Corn was rated 71 percent good to excellent, in line
with forecasts.                          
    "The market has some questions about soybean yields given
the crop conditions. We'll have to wait to see what USDA says on
Friday," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.
    Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans      , the most
actively traded contract that represents the next harvest, were
up 8-3/4 cents, or 1 percent, at $9.02-1/4 a bushel by 11:56
a.m. CDT (1656 GMT). New-crop CBOT December       fell 1-1/4
cents to $3.84 a bushel.
    Trade tensions between the United States and China hang over
the soybean market as the world's top soy importer has not
booked major U.S. shipments in weeks.
    Oilseeds analysts Oil World projected China would resume
imports of U.S. soy in the fourth quarter despite the trade
    Wheat markets reversed course after overnight gains as
demand for U.S. export shipments has been slow to develop
despite shrinking crops in major export regions including
Europe, the Black Sea region, Australia and Canada.
    "The ongoing hot and dry conditions are prompting repeated
downward revisions of crop estimates," Commerzbank said. "Wheat
export prices in Russia meanwhile are rising significantly due
to crop shortfalls and quality problems."                
    France's farm ministry on Tuesday reduced its estimate of
this year's French soft wheat harvest, underlining the impact of
high temperatures in Europe.              
    CBOT September soft red winter wheat       shed 5-1/2 cents
to $5.69 a bushel, while September hard red winter wheat       
dropped 4-1/4 cents to $5.81-3/4 a bushel.

 (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Additional reporting by
Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore;
editing by Jane Merriman and Grant McCool)
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