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imageSYDNEY: US wheat futures were little changed in volatile trading on Tuesday as fears of an escalation of the Ukraine crisis eased, while weather-related US crop damage offered support.

Soybeans fell, giving back most of Monday's gains, while corn edged lower for a second session and taking its losses over the two days to more than 1.5 percent.

Chicago Board of Trade May wheat futures where unchanged at $6.74-1/2 a bushel, having opened up nearly 0.5 percent before falling nearly 0.2 percent. Wheat closed down 1.9 percent on Monday.

"The grain markets remain volatile in response to the uncertain Black Sea situation," said Luke Mathews, commodities strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"Outside of the Black Sea, we are seeing worries mount about the US winter wheat crop conditions, especially in those Southern Plains where dryness remains a significant issue."

Wheat has drawn strong support amid fears that unrest in Ukraine could curb exports, although concerns were eased slightly when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree recognising the region as a sovereign state. Traders remain anxious about any escalation of the most serious East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War.

Ukraine could lose about 11 million tonnes of grain in the 2014 harvest due to a sharp decrease in sowing area caused by a shortage of money, analyst UCAB said on Monday.

Traders said ongoing crop damage in key US producing states were supporting the market.

The Kansas field office of the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a weekly report on Monday that 34 percent of the Kansas wheat crop was rated in good to excellent condition, down from 37 percent a week earlier.

May corn was little changed to $4.78-3/4 a bushel,

having closed down 1.45 percent on Monday.

May soybeans fell 0.2 percent to $13.89-1/2 a bushel, reversing the previous session's gains.

Analysts said soybeans remain under pressure over signs of weakening Chinese demand as bumper South American stocks hit the market.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

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