October 11, 2018 / 2:34 PM / 8 months ago

GRAINS-Soybeans slump as market readies for U.S. crop report

* Trade worries, big U.S. crop keep soybeans under pressure

* Market awaits USDA supply/demand report at 1600 GMT

* Soy, corn, wheat all ease to lowest in over a week (Recasts with U.S. market open, updates prices, changes byline, changes dateline from PARIS/SYDNEY)

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, Oct 11 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures drifted lower for a third straight session on Thursday and touched a 1-1/2 week low as an expected bumper U.S. harvest and worries over a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing pressured prices.

Corn also touched a 10-day low as investors squared positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) monthly supply-and-demand report, due later on Thursday, that is expected to again raise estimates for U.S. harvest yields.

Steep losses on stock markets, partly linked to investor concern over trade tensions, focused the market’s attention on the U.S.-China stand-off, which has led to a tailing off of U.S. soybean shipments to China.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Thursday there was much more he could do to hurt China’s economy, as he showed no signs of backing off an escalating trade war with Beijing.

In a monthly report scheduled for release at 11:00 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT), the USDA is expected to raise its U.S. corn and soybean yield and production forecasts and increase its end-of-season U.S. and global stocks projections for corn, soy and wheat.

Brazil’s agriculture statistics agency on Thursday forecast higher corn production and exports in 2019 and a slight decline in soybean output and exports.

The prospect of big supplies has curbed prices this week despite heavy rains across the Midwest and U.S. Plains that have disrupted harvesting of corn and soybeans and threatened to wash away some fields of newly planted wheat.

Drier weather is expected in the weeks ahead, which should allow harvesting to accelerate again, forecasters said.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans were flat at $8.52-1/4 a bushel by 9:16 a.m. CDT (1416 GMT) after earlier hitting a low of $8.47, the lowest since Oct. 1.

CBOT December corn fell 1-1/4 cents to $3.61-1/2 a bushel, sinking for a fourth straight day.

Wheat shrugged off pressure from lower corn and soy on hopes for renewed U.S. export demand amid signs of tightening supplies in Russia.

CBOT December wheat added 2-1/2 cents to $5.13 a bushel.

Russia, the world’s top wheat exporter, will inspect grain loading at ports because of complaints from major buyers about falling crop standards, the head of the country’s agriculture safety watchdog said Thursday.

Traders have been watching for changes in Russian wheat regulations because they have been used in the past to place informal curbs on exports.

Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris; editing by Alexander Smith and Steve Orlofsky

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