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GRAINS-Wheat sags on abundant global supplies; corn to contract lows

Julie Ingwersen

* K.C. and MGEX hard wheat futures set multi-year lows

* Corn hits contract lows on benign U.S. weather, no frost

* Soybeans follow weak trend

(New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments to close, adds USDA crop progress data) CHICAGO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) soft red winter wheat futures fell to three-month lows on Tuesday while U.S. hard wheat futures hit their lowest levels in a decade, pressured by ample world supplies and strong export competition, analysts said. Corn futures fell to life-of-contract lows on mild crop weather that bolstered confidence in U.S. harvest prospects, and soybean futures followed the weaker trend. Benchmark CBOT December soft red winter wheat settled down 9 cents at $4.53-1/2 per bushel. Front-month K.C. hard red winter wheat dipped to $3.61-3/4 a bushel, the lowest spot price on a continuous chart since December 2005. And Minneapolis Grain Exchange September spring wheat settled at $4.66-1/2, the cheapest spot spring wheat price on a continuous chart since September 2009. Hard red winter wheat is grown in the southern U.S. Plains and typically milled into flour for bread. Hard red spring wheat, grown in the northern Plains and traded in Minneapolis, is a top-quality grain used for pizza dough and bagels, and often blended with lesser grades of wheat to improve flour quality. All three wheat markets sagged on prospects for plentiful global stockpiles. "The wheat market is searching for demand. We have large crops not only in Ukraine but in Europe, Russia. And end-users, at least near-term, have reasonably good coverage," said Rich Feltes, vice president for research with R.J. O'Brien. "Importers have been moving towards hand-to-mouth purchasing to take full advantage of the downward trend in prices," said Michael Magdovitz, senior agriculture commodities analyst at Rabobank. CBOT corn futures fell as forecasts called for mild Midwest temperatures and few signs of frost that could hurt late-maturing crops. "We may have a delayed-harvest crop; we may have a lower quality crop. But we are going to have a crop. That is the message," Feltes said. CBOT December corn settled down 8-3/4 cents at $3.61 a bushel after setting a contract low at $3.60-1/2. November soybeans ended down 1/2 cent at $8.68-1/2 a bushel. After the CBOT close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rated 58% of the U.S. corn crop in good to excellent condition, up from 57% the previous week and in line with trade expectations. The USDA said 6% of the crop was mature, behind the five-year average of 13%. Concern about the U.S. trade row with China, the top global soybean buyer, also hung over the futures market, as new tariffs on Chinese goods went into effect over the U.S. Labor Day weekend. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are due to meet in person in Washington this month, but no date has yet been set.

President Donald Trump warned he would be "tougher" on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes could trigger a U.S. recession.

CBOT settlement prices:

Net Pct VolumeLast change changeCBOT wheat WZ9 453.50 -9.00 -1.9 73005CBOT corn CZ9 361.00 -8.75 -2.4 195380CBOT soybeans SX9 868.50 -0.50 -0.1 107144CBOT soymeal SMZ9 294.10 -1.20 -0.4 41364CBOT soyoil BOZ9 29.09 0.28 1.0 72150

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

(Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney Editing by David Goodman, Steve Orlofsky and David Gregorio)