GRAINS-Corn drifts lower as U.S. ethanol plan awaited
* Wheat pares gains after Egypt buys French, Romanian grain
* Soybeans set back from six-week high
* Soyoil firm on U.S. sale to India
* Coming up: NOPA to issue October US soy crush data Friday
(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes dateline from previous LONDON, changes byline) CHICAGO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures sagged on Thursday on technical selling and concerns that the U.S. government might soon lower its requirement on the amount of corn-based ethanol blended into fuel for 2014, traders said. Wheat pared gains after top global buyer Egypt said it bought wheat from France and Romania in a tender, and soybeans fell in light, choppy trading. At the Chicago Board of Trade as of 12:13 p.m. CST (1813 GMT), December corn was down 3 cents at $4.26-3/4 a bushel. December wheat was up 1/2 cent at $6.46 a bushel and January soybeans were down 1 cent at $13.14 a bushel. Corn was on track for its third straight daily decline as traders awaited a decision, possibly this week, about the U.S. 2014 ethanol mandate. "I think everybody is worried about this ethanol thing. They been trying to sell that market all week," said Jack Scoville with the Price Futures Group in Chicago. Documents leaked earlier this year indicated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might cut its corn-based ethanol requirement to 13 billion gallons versus the 14.4 billion target in a 2007 law. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. ethanol production in the latest week at 927,000 barrels per day, up 25,000 from the previous week, a reflection of strong margins for producers, traders said. The CBOT December contract has fallen in subdued trading since hitting a two-week high of $4.38 on Tuesday, buoyed by a lower-than-expected forecast of U.S. corn ending stocks that was released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
WHEAT PARES GAINS Wheat turned mixed after Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) bought 240,000 tonnes of Romanian and French wheat for shipment Dec. 1-15 in an international tender.
Egypt is the world's biggest wheat importer, and the purchase was its biggest since Aug. 31. European traders said the weakness of the euro on Wednesday might have given an edge to French wheat. The last time GASC bought French wheat was at a tender on Dec. 1, 2012. In Paris, January wheat rose 0.98 percent to settle at 205.25 euros a tonne, off its session high of 206.25. CBOT soybeans fell in choppy trading, setting back after the January contract set a six-week high at $13.21-1/2 a bushel on the back of recent sales of U.S. soybeans to China. Traders noted technical resistance above $13.20, preventing the market from rising higher. "I think we are stuck in a lull until the January (USDA) crop reports. You've played the soybean demand card hard, and there has been a lot sold and booked. We all know there is a time limit on that," said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading, referring to the harvest of a likely record South American soy crop early in 2014. CBOT soyoil futures drew support after the USDA said private exporters reported sales of 40,000 tonnes of U.S. soyoil to India. The soy market was waiting for data on Friday from the National Oilseed Processors Association on the amount of U.S. soybeans crushed in October. A Reuters analyst poll pegged the crush at 154.3 million bushels, with estimates ranging from 144 million to 158.5 million.
Prices at 12:12 p.m. CST (1812 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 426.75 -3.00 -0.7% -38.9% CBOT soy 1313.25 -1.75 -0.1% -7.4% CBOT meal 423.00 -0.30 -0.1% 0.6% CBOT soyoil 41.12 0.16 0.4% -16.4% CBOT wheat 645.25 -0.25 0.0% -17.1% CBOT rice 1580.00 20.00 1.3% 6.3% EU wheat 205.25 2.00 1.0% -18.0% US crude 94.06 0.17 0.2% 2.4% Dow Jones 15,862 40 0.3% 21.0% Gold 1286.86 8.25 0.6% -23.1% Euro/dollar 1.3472 -0.0012 -0.1% 2.1% Dollar Index 80.9220 -0.0040 0.0% 1.4% Baltic Freight 1517 -14 -0.9% 117.0%
(Additional reporting by Nigel Hunt in London and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by David Evans and Andre Grenon)