November 6, 2018 / 6:52 PM / 5 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat firms as crop ratings decline; soy, corn little changed

    * U.S. winter wheat planting progress lags average
    * CBOT corn choppy ahead of USDA monthly data
    * Trade awaits U.S. election results, news of U.S.-China

 (New throughout; updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline,
changes dateline from previous HAMBURG)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures touched a
one-week high on Tuesday on light short-covering and worries
about declining U.S. crop condition ratings, analysts said.
    Corn futures were choppy while soybeans drifted lower as
traders awaited direction ahead of U.S. congressional elections
and monthly U.S. supply/demand reports due Thursday.
    As of 12:28 p.m. CDT (1828 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade
December soft red winter wheat was up 5-1/2 cents at
$5.12-3/4 per bushel. CBOT December corn was down 1/4 cent
at $3.73-3/4 a bushel and January soybeans were down 1-3/4
cents at $8.84 a bushel.
    CBOT wheat climbed more than 1 percent after the U.S.
Department of Agriculture late on Monday rated 51 percent of the
U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, down from
53 percent the previous week. Analysts on average had expected a
slight improvement.
    The USDA also said the winter wheat crop was 84 percent
seeded, lagging the five-year average of 90 percent, with cold
temperatures in the Plains and Midwest forecast for next week.
    "We are running out of time on planting winter wheat, so we
may be losing acres," said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with
Futures International in Chicago.
    High temperatures in the U.S. midsection next week will only
reach the 30s and 40s Fahrenheit (zero to 6 degrees Celsius),
with lows in the 10s and 20s (minus 9 to minus 4 C), Radiant
Solutions said in a client note.
    Commodity funds hold a net short position in CBOT wheat
futures, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of
    CBOT December corn climbed to $3.74-1/2, its highest
since Oct. 17, before retreating. Traders seemed reluctant to
stake out large new positions ahead of Tuesday's midterm
election results and the USDA's November supply/demand reports
on Thursday.
    Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average expect USDA to lower
its U.S. corn and soybean yield estimates. They also expect the
government to trim its forecast of U.S. 2018/19 corn ending
stocks while raising its forecast of U.S. soy stocks.

    "Soybeans and corn are not seeing a lot of movement today as
the market assesses the background macro factors of the U.S.
midterm elections and the continuing U.S./China trade dispute,"
said Charles Clack, agricultural commodity analyst at Rabobank.
    China is ready to hold discussions and work with the United
States to resolve trade disputes because the world's two largest
economies stand to lose from confrontation, Chinese Vice
President Wang Qishan said on Tuesday.    
    CBOT prices as of 12:30 p.m. CST (1830 GMT):    
                                 Net     Pct  Volume
                        Last  change  change        
 CBOT wheat     WZ8   512.75    5.50     1.1   37634
 CBOT corn      CZ8   373.75   -0.25    -0.1  155561
 CBOT soybeans  SF9   883.75   -2.00    -0.2   46750
 CBOT soymeal   SMZ8  311.60    1.00     0.3   29656
 CBOT soyoil    BOZ8   27.88   -0.02    -0.1   51521
   NOTE: CBOT December wheat and corn and January soybeans shown
in cents per bushel, December soymeal in dollars per short ton
and December soyoil in cents per lb.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, additional reporting
by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore;
editing by David Evans and Rosalba O'Brien)
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