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CHICAGO: Chicago wheat, corn and soyabean futures firmed on Friday after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assessed global supply and demand, reflecting the impact the war in Ukraine has had on Black Sea exports.

Grain prices remained underpinned by Russia’s six-week-old invasion of Ukraine, which has stalled large amounts of Ukrainian exports of wheat, corn and sunflower oil. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

Soyabean and corn futures remain elevated, supported by reduced production in South America and questions of US acreage decisions as planting near. The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) was up 26-1/2 cents to $10.46-1/2 a bushel by 12:24 p.m. (1724 GMT).

CBOT soyabeans added 36-3/4 cents to $16.82-1/4 a bushel, while corn firmed 11 cents to $7.68-3/4 a bushel. Soyabean futures climbed as the USDA pegged US ending stocks down 25 million bushels to 260 million bushels as South American exports lag, with Brazil’s exports falling 2.75 million tonnes to 82.75 million tonnes.

The report does not reflect the increased soyabean plantings the agency showed in last week’s planting intentions report, the USDA said.

“We’re that strong in the beans because they haven’t put in the bigger acres. We’re that strong in the corn because people believe those acres are coming down,” said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing.

Corn ending stocks remained unchanged from March at 1.440 billion bushels. “The USDA probably surprised the trade when they left US corn exports unchanged despite the Ukraine situation,” said Don Roose, president of US Commodities. Ukraine is expected to export 19 million tonnes of wheat this production year, down 1 million from the USDA’s last assessment, while Russia is expected to increase wheat shipments by 1 million, to 33 million tonnes.

US wheat ending stocks are set to increase by 25 million bushels to 678 million bushels as high CBOT futures price US wheat out of the world market.

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