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CHICAGO: US wheat prices reversed earlier gains to close lower on Friday, as markets weighed tight global stocks against the prospect of hefty Russian wheat production and efforts to renew a Black Sea grain deal.

Chicago soybeans and corn also climbed after month-end positioning pushed futures lower much of the week and traders watched for any updates on US crop conditions before harvest begins.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) fell 6-1/2 cents to $5.95-1/2.

For the week, CBOT wheat dipped 4.22%, its second consecutive weekly decline. Soybeans ended 1/2 cent higher at $13.69-1/4 a bushel, but closed the week down 1.33%. Corn firmed 3-1/4 cents to $4.81-1/2 a bushel but lost 1.33% on the week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to hold talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, the Kremlin said. Russia’s IKAR agriculture consultancy said Russia could export 49.5 million metric tons (mmt) of wheat in the 2023/24 season, 2 mmt more than it previously forecast, based on a revised estimate for the country’s wheat crop to 91.0 mmt from an earlier 89.5 mmt.

But several top-producing nations have noted production issues, including Argentina, where the Buenos Aires grains exchange said the 2023/24 wheat crop had taken a hit from extreme weather.

“We are at a nine-year low on stocks to use globally for the wheat. And I think at some point the market’s gonna have to redress that, especially if we continue with these weather extremes in some key countries,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics. In the soybeans market, concern that dry weather harmed US beans at a key development stage fuelled a price rally last month, but momentum faded this week, and harvest could bring additional pressure, especially if low water on the Mississippi river continues to hamper export channels.

Recent export activity has offered some support. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed private sales of 198,000 metric tons of US new-crop soybeans to unknown destinations, marking six consecutive trading days of daily soybean sales notices.

The USDA is due to release new crop estimates next week after data on Monday showed that both soybeans and corn were coping better with the weather than feared.

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