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GRAINS-Soybean hits 7-month high on Argentina supply concerns


Soybean up as dry weather threatens Argentine output


Strong exports support Chicago soybean, corn futures

(Adds quote in paragraph 5, updates prices)

By Matthew Chye

SINGAPORE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures scaled a seven-month peak on Wednesday, as forecasts of dry weather in the world's third-biggest producer Argentina raised concerns over global supplies amid strong demand.

Wheat slid after four sessions of gains, while corn inched up and hovered close to a two-and-half-month high touched on Tuesday.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.4% to $15.46-1/2 a bushel, as of 0442 GMT, climbing to its highest since late June.

Wheat gave up 0.3% to $7.49-1/2 a bushel and corn added 0.1% to $6.85-3/4 a bushel.

Dry conditions in Argentina continue to be the main story for soybeans, commodities research firm Hightower said in a note, adding, there is some rain in the forecast over the coming week but it is expected to be below normal.

On Tuesday, the soybean and corn markets got a boost after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed private sales of 150,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to Colombia and 119,000 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations.

There was additional support stemming from weekly export inspections data, with the USDA reporting 774,461 tonnes of U.S. corn and 2.075 million tonnes of soybeans inspected for export in the latest week, both above a range of trade expectations.

China, the world's biggest soybean importer, is expected to boost purchases in the months ahead as the country reopens after years of COVID-19 restrictions.

Urban workers crowded train stations across China's largest cities on Tuesday as travel for the Lunar New Year holidays hit high gear, an early sign of economic recovery.

In the wheat market, remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country should maintain stocks and not export all its agricultural supplies drew attention to geopolitical risks as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues.

The Brazilian government believes that it is possible to increase the area planted with grains by 5% each harvest for several years without deforestation, said the Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Favaro, on Tuesday.

Brazil's 2022/2023 summer grain production will outgrow total storage capacity for the first time in 20 years amid expectations of a record soybean harvest, according to government data obtained by Reuters from Conab, the food supply and statistics agency.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, wheat, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Tuesday, traders said. (Reporting by Matthew Chye; Editing by Eileen Soreng)

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