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Soybeans fall to one-week low on recession fears; wheat firms

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SINGAPORE — Chicago soybean futures slid 1% on Monday to their lowest levels in almost one week, while corn lost ground as worries over a global economic downturn weighed on prices.

Wheat edged higher, recouping losses from the previous session with an escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine fueling concerns over supplies.

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“Central banks are continuing the fight against inflation which has traders worried that there will not be a soft landing,” the Hightower said in a report.

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The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was down 1.1% at $14.63-1/4 a bushel, as of 0406 GMT, the weakest since Dec. 13 while corn gave up 0.8% to $6.48 a bushel.

Wheat added 0.1% to $7.54-1/2 a bushel.

Fears of demand destruction are weighing on prices of agricultural commodities.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank last week revived investors’ recession worries by signaling more interest rate rises to contain inflation.

Asia’s stock markets made a wobbly start to the final full trading week of 2022, with the prospect of interest rates rising further next year taking the edge off festive cheer.

For the wheat market, Russia-Ukraine war remains the key issue, which could disrupt supplies.

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Russia fired more than 70 missiles during Friday’s morning rush hour in one of its biggest attacks on Ukraine since the start of the war, forcing emergency power cuts nationwide, Ukrainian officials said.

A colder-than-usual spell in parts of Europe is not expected to cause much harm to winter grains and may benefit crops in France after a very mild autumn, analysts said.

In France, the European Union’s biggest grain grower, sub-zero lows have not been severe enough to threaten wheat, barley and rapeseed, and a steady drop in temperatures since last month gave plants time to adjust.

Global grain trader Archer Daniels Midland Co has closed “a few” grain elevators and edible bean facilities in North Dakota due to weather-related travel concerns, a company spokesperson said in an email statement to Reuters on Friday.

Large speculators raised their net long position in CBOT corn futures in the week ended Dec. 13, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly commitments of traders report also showed that non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, trimmed their net short position in CBOT wheat and raised their net long position in soybeans. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)

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