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GRAINS-U.S. corn, soybean futures fall; wheat firms on technical buying

Mark Weinraub

(Recasts; updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote)

CHICAGO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell 1.5% on Wednesday, with investors shedding risky assets as concerns about the global economy spilled over into the grain markets.

Forecasts for some rain in key growing areas of the U.S. Midwest in the coming weeks added to the pressure on the corn market and bolstered the bearish production view issued by the U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday.

"Corn started the day better on unwinding of intermarket spreads, but the market fell back late on more forecasts of favorable weather and general psychological disdain," Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital, said in a note to clients.

Soybean futures also weakened, with the benchmark November contract shedding 1.2%, on the weather. The next few weeks are critical for development of the soybean crop.

Wheat futures firmed on technical buying after sinking to their lowest in nearly three months on Tuesday.

Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures ended down 6-1/4 cents at $3.70-1/4 a bushel. The most-active contract hit its lowest since May 16.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's surprise boost to its corn production forecast issued on Monday continued to hang over the market.

CBOT November soybean futures were down 11 cents a bushel at $8.78, settling back from a near two-week high amid ongoing concerns about U.S. exports despite signs of relaxed tensions in the trade war with China.

Dealers were keeping a close watch on the decline in the peso currency of key exporter Argentina linked to rising fears of a return to populist policies.

"This makes it more attractive for Argentinian suppliers to ship to international markets because it increases their returns in domestic pesos when trading in USD-priced products," Commerzbank said in a market note. "However, many market participants are waiting to see whether the currency will depreciate any further."

President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized China for not following through with expected large purchases of U.S. agricultural products, but appeared hopeful that Beijing's stance could change.

Analysts were expecting a USDA report on Thursday morning to show weekly export sales of soybeans between 150,000 tonnes and 700,000 tonnes. A week ago, soybean export sales totaled 419,914 tonnes.

CBOT September soft red winter wheat was 1-3/4 cents higher at $4.73-3/4 a bushel. The contract found technical support near the low end of its 20-day Bollinger range. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London Editing by Leslie Adler)