GRAINS-Soybean futures rebound as China books new purchases; corn firm, wheat mixed

Mark Weinraub

mixed@ (Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds analyst comment, changes dateline, pvs LONDON)

CHICAGO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose 1.6% on Monday, recovering Friday's losses, on fresh export deals with China and rising concerns that rains in the U.S. Midwest could lower crop quality just ahead of harvest, traders said.

The adverse weather also supported corn futures while wheat futures were mixed. The most-active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts eased slightly. K.C. hard red winter wheat contracts were slightly higher while MGEX spring wheat futures soared to a 10-week high, also due to concerns about weather damaging the crop.

Chinese importers bought about 10 cargoes of U.S. soybeans on Monday, or about 600,000 tonnes, for shipment from Pacific Northwest export terminals from October to December, two traders with direct knowledge of the deals said.

Over the weekend, the China's senior agricultural representative in recent U.S.-China trade talks told state-backed media group Yicai that last week's meetings between the world's two largest economies have achieved a "good outcome." Soybean prices had fallen sharply on Friday after Chinese agriculture officials abruptly canceled a visit to U.S. farm states.

At 11:05 a.m. CDT (1605 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures were up 14 cents at $8.96-3/4 a bushel.

CBOT December corn futures were up 3 cents at $3.73-3/4 a bushel, hitting resistance near last week's high of $3.74-3/4 a bushel.

Traders were waiting for the U.S. Agriculture Department's weekly update on crop progress and conditions on Monday afternoon.

"The trade is anxious to see more harvest results but relentless fall rains are becoming problematic for many in the Midwest," Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone, said in a note to clients. "The 2019 growing season appears to be going out just as it came in a wet and difficult campaign for most U.S. Corn Belt farmers."

CBOT December soft red winter wheat was down 1/2 cent at $4.83-3/4 a bushel. K.C. December hard red winter wheat was up 2-1/2 cents at $4.10 a bushel and MGEX December spring wheat was 14 cents higher at $5.38-1/4 a bushel.

MGEX spring wheat peaked at $5.39 a bushel, the highest for the front-month contract since July 15.

Excessively wet conditions in the northern U.S. Plains and Canadian Prairies have hurt the quality of spring and durum wheat crops there, potentially tightening supplies of top grades of the grains, handlers and agronomists said. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London Editing by David Evans and Matthew Lewis)