December 30, 2019 / 2:22 AM / 22 days ago

GRAINS-U.S. wheat, soybeans maintain trade around over 1-year highs

SHANGHAI, Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat and soybean prices were up in early trade on Monday, extending gains on hopes that China will ramp up soy purchases following a recently struck trade deal with the United States.

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

Corn futures however traded lower on Monday following a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday that announced corn export sales at the lower end of expectations.

The USDA reported export sales of U.S. corn in the week to Dec. 19 at 626,100 tonnes (old and new crop years combined), toward the low end of trade expectations for 500,000 to 1,200,000 tonnes.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active soybeans futures, which rose to their highest since June 2018 in the previous session, were up 0.2% at $9.43-1/4 a bushel at around 0150 GMT on Monday.

* The most active wheat futures were slightly up 0.01% at $5.56-3/4 a bushel, in line for a fourth straight session of gains.

* The most active corn futures were down 0.3% at $3.89 a bushel.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a weekly report said export sales of U.S. wheat last week were 714,900 tonnes, toward the high end of analysts' expectations for 200,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes.

* Expected adverse weather across Ukraine may significantly damage winter grain crops, especially those that were sown late, consultancy APK-Inform quoted Ukrainian agricultural scientists as saying on Friday.

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

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar was on the defensive on Monday in light year-end trading after suffering a setback the previous session, as hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal lifted investors' risk appetite, sapping safe-haven demand for the greenback.

* Oil prices rose to the fourth consecutive weekly gain on Friday, steadying at three-month highs after new data showed U.S. crude inventories fell far more than expected, while upbeat economic data and optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal fueled a year-end stock market rally.

* The Nasdaq snapped an 11-day streak of gains on Friday after some late-session weakness, but the S&P 500 and the Dow scratched out record closing highs with slight gains as a year-end rally chugged along.

* A broad gauge of Asian share markets fell on Monday as investors consolidated gains after scaling 18-month highs last week, while oil was steady after the U.S. carried out air strikes on an Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militia group in Iraq and Syria. (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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