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GRAINS-Soybeans set for 1st weekly gain in 4 on U.S.-China trade hopes

Naveen Thukral

* Soybeans up half a pct this week after 3 weeks of losses

* Hopes for Washington-Beijing trade agreement underpin prices

(Add details, quote) Feb 22 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures edged higher on Friday, with the market set to gain for the first time in four weeks on expectations of a trade agreement between Washington and Beijing. Wheat is poised for a third week of decline, pressured by tepid interest in U.S. supplies from major importers. Top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators haggled on Thursday over the details of a set of agreements aimed at ending their trade war, just one week before a Washington-imposed deadline for a deal expires and triggers higher U.S. tariffs.

Traders said soybean futures were supported by Bloomberg reporting that China is expected to propose buying an additional $30 billion of U.S. agricultural imports annually. "There is going to be competition between Brazil and the United States to export soybeans to China," said one Singapore-based trader at an international trading company which owns soybean crushing plants in China. The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade is up half percent this week. Wheat is down 2.3 percent this week, set to extend three-week losses to 6 percent and corn is up 0.3 percent for the week. Argentina's soybean crop is in mostly good condition with recent hot, dry weather helping to stabilize flooded areas, keeping the country on track for a 53-million-tonne harvest, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday. U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn this spring, up from 89.1 million last year, while reducing the soybean area to 85 million acres from 89.2 million in 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected on Thursday.

The USDA estimated 47 million acres of wheat would be planted, down from 47.8 million acres in 2018. Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, on Wednesday said it had bought 180,000 tonnes of French wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat. The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its forecasts for world corn production in the 2018/2019 season, driven by a sharp upward revision for China's crop. The inter-governmental body, in a monthly update, increased its global corn crop forecast by 33 million tonnes to 1.109 billion tonnes, with China's production estimated at 257 million tonnes, up from a previous forecast of 220 million. Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, wheat, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Thursday, traders said.

Grains prices at 0323 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSICBOT wheat 488.25 1.75 +0.36% +1.56% 513.71 28CBOT corn 376.50 1.00 +0.27% +1.55% 377.02 52CBOT soy 912.00 1.00 +0.11% +1.05% 911.97 52CBOT rice 10.40 $0.01 +0.05% +2.26% $10.61 47WTI crude 56.86 -$0.10 -0.18% -0.11% $53.65


Euro/dlr $1.134 $0.000 +0.03% +0.02%USD/AUD 0.7090 0.000 -0.03% -1.02%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)