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CHICAGO: US corn, wheat and soybean futures plummeted on Thursday, as investor fears of an economic downturn and improved sentiment over US crops shifted attention from war disruption to Black Sea exports.

Wheat futures sank to their lowest level since March 1.

J.P. Morgan analysts in a note said “stymied investor risk appetite amid discussions of a humanitarian export corridor for Ukrainian food exports, downside global growth risks and hand-to-mouth consumer buying” had contained prices despite tight global supplies.

Corn shed 3.8% as the latest forecasts showed some much-needed rain hitting key areas of the US Midwest just as the crop reaches its yield-determining pollination phase.

“We are quite dry at the moment and we could sure use rain across all of the Midwest,” Brian Basting, commodity research analyst at Advance Trading. “The forecast is enough to at least spook the market at these high levels.” At 11:04 a.m. CDT (1604 GMT), CBOT July corn was down 28-1/2 cents at $7.39 a bushel, hitting its lowest level since June 6.

Soybeans were down for the eighth time in nine sessions, with additional pressure coming from weakness in the crude oil market that stemmed from demand concerns.

CBOT July soybeans were 61-1/2 cents lower at $15.91-1/4. The most-active contract touched its lowest level since May 12.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat was off 39-3/4 cents at $9.36-3/4 a bushel.

Ongoing talks over a shipping corridor for Ukrainian grain and a US pledge to help avert repercussions of sanctions on Russian food and fertilizer exports also tempered concerns about the war blockade on Ukraine’s ports.

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