Wheat bounces after 2-1/2 year low; corn, soy futures pare losses

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Recasts, updates with closing U.S. prices

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, May 31 (Reuters) -Chicago wheat futures closed higher on Wednesday on a round of bargain buying after the benchmark July contract WN3 dipped to its lowest level in nearly 2-1/2 years, dragged down by strong competition for export business and macroeconomic worries, brokers said.

Similarly, U.S. corn and soybean futures recovered from steep declines, with nearby corn futures ending steady and nearby soybean futures inching higher as traders covered short positions and gauged weather risks to Midwest crops.

Chicago Board of Trade July wheat WN3 settled up 3-1/4 cents at $5.94-1/4 per bushel, bouncing after a fall to $5.73-1/4, the lowest on a continuous chart of the most-active wheat contract Wv1 since Dec. 9, 2020.

CBOT July corn CN3 ended unchanged at $5.94 per bushel and July soybeans SN3 settled up 3-1/4 cents at $12.99-3/4 per bushel, rallying after a dip to $12.70-3/4, the lowest on a continuous soy chart Sv1 since mid-December 2021.

Early pressure stemmed in part from data showing that manufacturing activity in China, a key commodities buyer, contracted faster than expected in May.

"Prices for all commodities ... have fallen sharply against the backdrop of global economic gloom," consultancy Agritel said in a note.

Strong competition for global export business anchored prices as well. Top global soy supplier Brazil is exporting 178,800 tonnes of soybeans to buyers in the United States, the No. 2 soy exporter, shipping data showed, reflecting bargain prices for Brazilian soy.

However, grain futures pared losses as traders covered short positions at the end of the month and shifted their focus to weather risks for U.S. corn and soybean crops.

"The selling leading up to this morning was probably overdone," said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

"The weather isn't perfect across the U.S., and with the managed money, how short they are in the grains, it's inevitable that we would see some short-covering come into the market," Reilly said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday rated 69% of the U.S. corn crop in good-to-excellent condition, down from 73% a year ago and below an average of analyst estimates for 71%.

"The western Corn Belt really needs a good soaking," Reilly said.

Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips, Shailesh Kuber, Sonia Cheema and Richard Chang


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