June 19, 2018 / 4:09 PM / a year ago

GRAINS-Soybeans approach 10-yr low as U.S.-China trade row escalates

    * Soybeans fall to lowest since December 2008
    * Corn futures set contract lows
    * U.S.-China trade tension may hit U.S. bean exports 
    * Wheat down as U.S. winter crop harvest expands

 (Recasts; updates prices, adds quotes, changes dateline;
previous HAMBURG)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures plunged on
Tuesday to their lowest level in nearly a decade as escalating
trade tensions between the United States and China, the world's
biggest soy buyer, prompted fund-driven selling, analysts said.
    Corn and wheat followed broad declines in the commodity
sector. Favorable weather in the Midwest bolstered corn and soy
crop prospects, adding to bearish sentiment.
    As of 10:50 a.m. CDT (1550 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade July
soybeans were down 29-1/2 cents at $8.79 per bushel after
dipping to $8.41-1/2, the lowest spot price on a continuous
chart since December 2008.
    CBOT July corn was down 5 cents at $3.51 after hitting
$3.38-3/4, a contract low. CBOT July soft red winter wheat
was down 11 cents at $4.79 a bushel after falling to $4.67-1/2,
its lowest since April 4.
    Soybeans led the way down after U.S. President Donald Trump
threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion
of Chinese goods. China's commerce ministry described the threat
as "blackmailing" and said Beijing would fight back with
"qualitative" and "quantitative" measures.
    "It's now a headline market," said Dan Basse, president of
AgResource Co. "I can look at my economics all I want, and it
doesn't do any good. It all comes down to what the big man wants
to do with China," Basse said, referring to Trump.
    "I don't know how the markets sort through it other than the
longs who have got margin calls are saying, 'I've had enough,'"
Basse added.
    Additional pressure on corn and soybean prices came from
crop-friendly weather across the U.S. Midwest.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) late on Monday
rated 78 percent of the U.S. corn crop in good to excellent
condition, up 1 percentage point from a week earlier. The rating
was among the highest for this point in the season in USDA
records dating back to the 1980s.
    The USDA rated 73 percent of the soybean crop as good to
excellent, down from 74 percent the previous week, but still
unusually high.
    CBOT wheat faced seasonal harvest pressure, with the USDA
reporting the winter wheat harvest as 27 percent complete, ahead
of the five-year average of 19 percent.
    However, analysts said trade tensions were the overriding
issue in all grain markets.
    CBOT prices as of 10:51 a.m. CDT (1551 GMT):
                                 Net     Pct  Volume
                        Last  change  change        
 CBOT wheat     WN8   479.00  -11.00    -2.2   71865
 CBOT corn      CN8   350.25   -5.75    -1.6  213189
 CBOT soybeans  SN8   881.75  -26.75    -2.9  128184
 CBOT soymeal   SMN8  333.00   -2.50    -0.8   65020
 CBOT soyoil    BON8   28.97   -0.60    -2.0   87871
   NOTE: CBOT July wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per

 (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Mark Potter and Dan Grebler)
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