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Jun 03, 2020 PRINT EDITION

LONDON: Chicago corn futures were slightly lower on Wednesday with the improved condition of the US crop keeping the market on the defensive, while wheat and soybean prices also eased.

The Chicago Board of Trade most-active corn contract was down 0.1% to $4.20-1/2 a bushel at 1026 GMT.

The corn market on Monday dropped to its lowest since June 11 at $4.12 a bushel.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its weekly crop progress report said 58% of US corn was in good to excellent condition, up one percentage point from last week. Analysts had on average expected 57%.

"The crop condition is fine and now everyone is awaiting acreage report due next month," said a Singapore-based trader. "The acreage report will provide a direction to corn prices."

The market is on edge about the crop's size and condition after heavy rains caused unprecedented planting delays this spring. It is waiting for the USDA to issue updates on how much corn and soybeans were planted in a report next month.

Traders are also watching the new round of US-China talks this week to settle the trade war that has slashed US soybean exports to China. But dealers were wary about chances of a breakthrough.

"There is no sign of any progress in the US-Chinese talks in Shanghai that are aimed at resolving the trade conflict - under which soybeans are suffering particularly as the most important US agricultural export (to China) by far," Commerzbank said.

The most active CBOT soybean contract was down 0.45% at $8.92-3/4 a bushel.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned China against waiting out his first term to finalise any trade deal, saying if he wins re-election in the November 2020 presidential contest, the outcome could be no agreement or a worse one.

Trump said China appeared to be backing off on a pledge to buy US agricultural products, which US officials have said could be a goodwill gesture and part of any final pact.

CBOT's most active wheat contract was down 0.55% at $4.94-1/2 a bushel while December wheat on Paris-based Euronext fell 0.7% to 180.25 euros a tonne.

A heatwave in the European Union's main wheat producers last week helped farmers make rapid progress with harvesting, with some crop forecasts being increased.

Consultancy Strategie Grains raised its estimate for France's 2019 soft wheat crop by nearly 700,000 tonnes to 38.98 million tonnes.

Copyright Reuters, 2019