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GRAINS-U.S. soy futures fall with exports in focus; corn futures lower for third day

Mark Weinraub

third day@ (Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds analyst quote, changes byline and dateline; previous LONDON)

CHICAGO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures eased on Wednesday, their third straight day of declines, but the market found support near recent lows following massive sell-offs on Monday and Tuesday, traders said.

Soybean futures also were lower while wheat futures firmed on technical buying after sinking to their lowest in nearly three months on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's surprise boost to its corn production forecast issued on Monday continued to hang over the market, but traders said the market had factored in most of the bearish news from the outlook during two days of declines that knocked prices down by 9.9%.

"I think we are rangebound," said Bill Gentry, managing director of agriculture consulting for Risk Management Commodities. "I am not real bullish but I do not see a real reason to make new contract lows. I think we have kind of switched from a fundamental to a technical market for the time being."

At 10:53 a.m. CDT (1553 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures were down 2-3/4 cents at $3.73-3/4 a bushel. The most-active contract hit its lowest since May 16.

CBOT November soybean futures were down 6 cents a bushel at $8.83, 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."

U.S. 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 1-1/4 cents higher at $4.73-1/4 a bushel. The contract found technical support near the low end of its 20-day Bollinger range. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London; editing by Jonathan Oatis)