December 27, 2019 / 2:19 AM / a month ago

GRAINS-U.S. soybeans rise on China purchase hopes

SHANGHAI, Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose in early trade on Friday, hovering below an 18-month high hit in the previous session, as bullish hopes that China will ramp up soy purchases following a recently struck trade deal supported the market.

China, the world's largest consumer of soybeans, and the United States struck a "Phase 1" trade deal that includes a commitment by Beijing to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

China's commerce ministry said on Thursday Beijing was in close contact with Washington, adding that both sides were still going through necessary procedures before the signing of the deal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active wheat futures were up 0.4% at $5.51-1/4 a bushel by 0215 GMT, in line for a third straight session of gains.

* The most active soybeans futures, which rose to their highest since June 2018 in the previous session, were up 0.1% at $9.47 a bushel.

* The most active corn futures were down 0.1% to $3.88 a bushel.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday is expected to report that wheat export sales last week were 200,000 to 900,000 tonnes, according to a Reuters survey of analysts.

* Japan will import 23,048 tonnes of feed-quality wheat for livestock use via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that closed late on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said.

* Jordan's state grains buyer has issued a tender to buy 120,000 tonnes of wheat, a government source and a trader said on Thursday.

* Russia's agricultural consultancy SovEcon said on Thursday it had lowered its 2019/2020 wheat export forecast by 0.2 million tonnes to 33.1 million tonnes.

* China warned earlier this week that a destructive pest that has threatened the country's grain output is expected to hit more crops across wider areas in 2020, including the key corn-growing region in the northeast.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar rose to a near two-week high against the Japanese yen on Thursday as optimism around easing trade tensions between the United States and China sapped demand for safe-haven currencies, even as the holiday-thinned trading limited large moves in the FX market.

* Oil prices rose on Friday, hitting three-month highs after data showed record online spending by U.S. consumers, stoking faith in the world's no. 1 economy even before the hoped-for end to the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

* The Nasdaq crossed the 9,000-point mark for the first time on Thursday as all three major Wall Street indexes posted record closing highs, boosted by optimism over U.S.-China trade relations and gains in shares of Amazon.com after a report signalled robust online holiday sales.

* A gauge of global equity markets and Wall Street's three major indices finished at all-time highs on Thursday in light holiday trade as a year-end rally advanced further on optimism over a U.S.-China trade agreement. (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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