GRAINS-Wheat, corn rise on Black Sea supply fears; soybeans firm

Credit: REUTERS/Julie Ingwersen

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, July 24 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat and corn futures rose on Monday, as Russia's attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure and slowing flow of shipments from the Black Sea region heightened concerns over supply disruptions.

Soybeans rose for the first time in three sessions.

"Cargo movement in the Black Sea region is getting restricted," said one Singapore-based trader. "Buyers are worried about supplies."

Russia pounded Ukrainian food export facilities for a fourth day in a row on Friday and practised seizing ships in the Black Sea in an escalation of what Western leaders say is an attempt to wriggle out of sanctions by threatening a global food crisis.

Russia said its Black Sea fleet had practised firing rockets at "floating targets" and it would deem all ships heading for Ukrainian waters to be potentially carrying arms. Kyiv responded with a similar warning about ships headed to Russia.

The looking to pick up grain cargoes from the Black Sea area has fallen 35% this week versus the previous week with growing uncertainty over whether commercial traffic could be hit as Russia continues to pound food facilities in Ukraine.

The soft wheat harvest ran slightly ahead of average by July 17 and winter barley cuttings were virtually complete, with grain crop conditions unchanged from the previous week, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Friday.

The office said in a crop report that French farmers had harvested 58% of the soft wheat crop by Monday, up from 33% a week earlier and an average of 53% but well behind last year's fast pace of 79%.

Large speculators increased their net short position in CBOT corn futures in the week to July 18, regulatory data released on Friday showed.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their net short position in CBOT wheat and raised their net long position in soybeans.

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sonia Cheema)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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