February 28, 2020 / 1:57 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-Wheat set for biggest monthly drop in 7 amid pandemic fears

SYDNEY, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures on Friday fell to their lowest in two-and-a-half months, as a rise in new coronavirus cases on shores beyond China fuelled fears of a pandemic, pushing the grain towards its biggest monthly drop since last July.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade dropped 5.1% so far this month, set for their biggest monthly slide since July 2019.

* Wheat down 0.3% at $5.26 a bushel, as of 0119 GMT, hovering near the session low of $5.24 a bushel - the lowest since Dec 12, 2019. The contract closed 1.5% lower in the previous session.

* The most active soybean futures climbed about 2.5% so far this month after slumping nearly 9% in January.

* The most active corn futures were down 3.5% for the month, poised for their second straight monthly drop.

* Argentina has suspended the registration of agricultural exports until further notice. The move was seen as foreshadowing a jump in grain export tariffs under the country's new Peronist government.

* Weekly corn, soybean and wheat export sales data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture also weighed on futures as sales of all three commodities last week were at or below the lowest trade estimates.

MARKET NEWS

* The euro got off to an unusually quiet start in Asia on Monday, having posted its worst weekly performance in three months, as investors await more developments and ratings downgrades from Europe.

* Oil edged lower in volatile trading on Friday, posting a second consecutive weekly loss as caution about Europe's debt crisis and year-end positioning continued to spark selling into rallies.

* A rally in U.S. stocks fizzled, leaving major indexes with modest gains on Friday, as Wall Street was torn between hope that U.S. economic data signals better times ahead and fear Europe's debt crisis will engulf world economies. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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