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A field of wheat east of Emerado, N.D File photo by Nick Nelson/Forum News Service

Wheat falls to contract lows on fund selling; soy gains

CHICAGO - Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures fell about 1 percent to life-of-contract lows on Thursday, Aug. 17, weighed down by investment fund short selling and abundant global supplies, traders said.

Corn futures also eased but held just above Wednesday's multimonth lows while soybean futures gained on strong Chinese demand and as rains this week missed some growing regions in the U.S. Midwest.

Declines in equities markets also pressured agriculture commodities amid uncertainty over the Trump administration's economic agenda and after a van crash killed more than a dozen people in Spain.

"It's just bearish all the way around. There's a little bit of a risk-off (trade)," said Arlan Suderman, grains analyst at INTL FCStone.

CBOT September wheat futures notched a contract low of $4.12-1/4 per bushel, before slightly paring losses to $4.14-1/4, down 5 cents, at 12:54 p.m. CDT (1754 GMT). Wheat on a continuous chart was the lowest since April.

CBOT December corn was down 2 cents to $3.64-1/2 per bushel, above the roughly 10-month low of $3.63-1/4 from the previous session.

CBOT November soybeans were up 7-3/4 cents to $9.33 per bushel, gaining after hitting more than a one-month low on Wednesday. The recent downturn in prices made U.S. soybeans more competitive in global markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 165,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans were sold to China within the past 24 hours. A trade delegation of Chinese importers earlier this week signed deals to buy 3.8 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans.

Limited export demand for U.S. wheat continued to anchor prices. No wheat was offered in a tender on Wednesday issued by top global buyer Egypt.

"Fundamentals are bearish for wheat, supplies are really good overall and it is a buyer's market," Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank, said.

Forecasters are expecting a record Russian wheat crop and the bumper volume was reflected in a long list of offers in the Egypt tender in which the world's largest wheat importer booked 295,000 tonnes of Russian wheat and 60,000 tonnes of Ukraine wheat.

In India, meanwhile, farmers harvested a record 98.38 million tonnes of wheat in the crop year to June, data released by the country's farm ministry showed on Wednesday.