GRAINS-Wheat falls to contract lows as U.S. export data disappoints

CHICAGO, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell to life-of-contract lows on Friday, pressured by disappointing weekly export sales data and plentiful global supplies, analysts said. Corn and soybeans futures followed wheat lower, bucking support from strength in crude oil and a weaker dollar, which tends to make U.S. grains more competitive globally. Trade in CBOT grains will close early Friday at 12:05 p.m. CDT (1805 GMT) following Thursday's U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. As of 10:59 a.m. CST (1659 GMT), CBOT December wheat was down 7-3/4 cents at $4.15 a bushel after dipping to $7.14-3/4, a contract low. CBOT December corn was down 2-1/2 cents at $3.42-3/4 a bushel while January soybeans were down 3 cents at $9.94-1/4 a bushel. Wheat sagged after weekly export sales of U.S. wheat fell below a range of trade expectations, reflecting stiff competition for export business amid plentiful global supplies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales of old-crop U.S. wheat in the latest week at 199,845 tonnes, the smallest tally in six weeks. Analysts had expected sales of 350,000 to 550,000 tonnes. "It's a little surprising," Mark Gold, managing partner at Chicago-based Top Third Ag Marketing, said of the decline in CBOT wheat futures, "considering how short the funds are, and the break in the dollar. But we just don't have any exports." Corn followed wheat lower and soybeans turned down, retreating from early advances. Adding pressure to prices, analysts noted forecasts for beneficial rains in crop areas of Argentina. "Both corn and soybeans have periodically traded in positive territory but sustaining a rally remains difficult in the face of better rains for Argentina next week and this morning's sluggish export sales report from USDA," INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a note to clients. The USDA reported weekly export sales of U.S. corn at 1,106,400 tonnes (old and new crop years combined), in line with trade expectations. The USDA's weekly sales tally for soybeans fell below 1 million tonnes, below a range of trade expectations, but sales of soymeal, at 379,800 tonnes, topped expectations, helping lift CBOT December soymeal to record a one-month high of $327 per short ton.

CBOT prices as of 10:58 a.m. CST (1658 GMT):

Net Pct Volume

Last change change

CBOT wheat WZ7 415.00 -7.75 -1.8 27866 CBOT corn CZ7 342.50 -2.75 -0.8 81731 CBOT soybeans SF8 995.25 -2.00 -0.2 38909 CBOT soymeal SMZ7 325.50 1.10 0.3 19658 CBOT soyoil BOZ7 33.70 -0.35 -1.0 36128

NOTE: CBOT December wheat, December corn and January soybeans shown in cents per bushel, December soymeal in dollars per short ton and December soyoil in cents per lb.

(Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Tom Brown)