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CHICAGO: US corn futures fell to two-week lows and new-crop soybeans hit a six-month low on Thursday as forecasts for rain in dry parts of the US Midwest raised hopes for bumper crops, traders said.

Wheat futures turned lower in choppy trade as brokers monitored negotiations about increasing grain exports from war-torn Ukraine.

As of 1:03 p.m. CDT (1803 GMT), benchmark Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures were down 18 cents at $5.72 per bushel after dipping to $5.70, the contract’s lowest since July 6. November soybeans were down 35-1/2 cents at $12.96-3/4 per bushel after touching $12.94-3/4, its lowest since Jan. 24.

CBOT September wheat was down 16 cents at $8.03-1/2 a bushel.

Corn and soybean prices sagged as traders focused on crop weather in the US Midwest where corn is pollinating, its key reproductive phase, later than usual. The US Department of Agriculture said 37% of the US corn crop was in the silking stage as of July 17, behind the five-year average of 48%.

Forecasts called for beneficial rains in the coming days and moderating Midwest temperatures next week.

“People are thinking the weather is going to be a little bit better for the reproduction,” said Jack Scoville, analyst with the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “The cooler temperatures next week will be extremely beneficial, and some rain would help.” Worries about tight global grain supplies underpinned the market. The International Grains Council (IGC) in a monthly update lowered its forecast of 2022/23 world corn production to 1.189 billion tonnes, down 1 million tonnes from last month.

The IGC raised its 2022/23 world wheat production forecast to 770 million tonnes, up 1 million from last month.

Traders eyed developments in Ukraine. Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will sign a deal on Friday to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s state grains buyer is believed to have bought an additional 120,000 tonnes of Russian and French wheat on Thursday, traders said, after booking 640,000 tonnes a day earlier.

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