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Soya beans recover from 10-month low, gains capped by virus worries

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Chicago soya bean futures rose for the first time in five sessions on Tuesday with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were limited by concerns over the economic damage from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

[SINGAPORE] Chicago soya bean futures rose for the first time in five sessions on Tuesday with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were limited by concerns over the economic damage from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

Wheat was little changed after Monday's slide to its lowest since October, while corn recovered from a six-month low to trade higher.

A bit of bargain buying and issues around food security are supporting prices of grains and oilseeds, said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

Most Asian shares fell a day after Wall Street's historic market rout, with fleeting initial gains evaporating as the coronavirus remained a major risk to economic growth.

The most-active soya bean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade added 0.8 per cent at US$8.28 a bushel by 0251 GMT, having slumped 3.2 per cent on Monday when prices hit their lowest since May 24 at US$8.21 a bushel.

Corn was up 0.3 per cent at US$3.55-3/4 a bushel after hitting a trough of US$3.53-3/4 a bushel earlier in the session - the lowest since Sept 12. Wheat was unchanged at US$4.98 a bushel, having dropped to its lowest since Oct 11 at US$4.91-3/4 a bushel on Monday.

Grain prices have come under sustained pressure as the coronavirus pandemic threatens demand for commodities although food demand is likely to provide a flood under agricultural markets.

The US Agriculture Department said on Monday morning that weekly export inspections came in at 977,879 tonnes for corn, 449,653 tonnes for wheat and 436,358 tonnes for soya beans. The weekly totals were in line with market forecasts.

The US soya bean crush in February topped most analysts' forecasts and hit the highest level on record for the shortest month of the year, according to data issued by the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) on Monday.

The association said its members, who handle about 95 per cent of all soya beans crushed in the United States, processed 166.288 million bushels of soya beans last month, down from the 176.940 million bushels crushed in January, an all-time high for any month, but up from the February 2019 crush of 154.498 million bushels.

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn soya bean, soya oil, soya meal and wheat futures contracts on Monday, traders said. 

REUTERS