Wires

GRAINS-Corn futures firm on slow U.S. harvest, soy weak, wheat mixed

Mark Weinraub

(Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, changes byline/dateline; pvs HAMBURG)

CHICAGO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures firmed on Tuesday, supported by the slow pace of harvest in the United States and strength in the cash market, traders said.

Soybean futures were trading close to unchanged, with concerns about trade negotiations between the United States and China beating back any rally attempts. The soybean market has fallen for eight days in a row and prices were flirting with the near three-month low hit on Monday.

The wheat market was mixed, with the most-active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts falling on profit-taking after running up to a six-month high on Monday. K.C. hard red winter wheat and MGEX spring wheat rose.

In its weekly crop progress report on Monday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 89% of U.S. corn was harvested, up just 5 percentage points from a week earlier and compared with the five-year average of 98%.

"There is still a lot of corn in the fields," said Greg Grow, director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services. "A lot of that is going to stay there for awhile. This is the time of year where farmers are not selling much."

The slow country movement has supported basis levels in the cash market as dealers tried to entice farmers to book new deals.

At 10:05 a.m. CST (1605 GMT), CBOT March corn futures were 1-1/2 cents higher at $3.83-1/2 a bushel. Prices hit resistance at Monday's high of $3.84-3/4 a bushel.

CBOT January soybeans were 1/4 cent lower at $8.70-1/4 a bushel.

President Donald Trump said a trade agreement with China might have to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020.

Expectations of a bumper crop in Brazil added to the pressure on soybeans.

"Large South American harvests are just around the corner," said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager with INTL FCStone. "China is believed to have already made large purchases of new crop South American soybeans so there is the question about how much U.S. soybeans China would need."

CBOT March soft red winter wheat futures were down 4-3/4 cents at $5.30-1/2 a bushel, K.C. March hard red winter wheat futures were up 1 cent at $4.40-1/4 a bushel and MGEX March spring wheat was up 6-1/4 cents at $5.16 a bushel.

Egypt's state grain buyer GASC said on Tuesday it bought 295,000 tonnes of Russian wheat at its latest international purchasing tender. (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Mark Potter and)