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GRAINS-Corn edges lower on caution ahead of USDA report…

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY, Aug 12 – U.S. corn futures edged lower on Wednesday as traders squared position ahead of a widely watched U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report later in the session.

Soybeans edged lower, while wheat fell 0.5%.

The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 0.2% at $3.23 a bushel, after closing up 0.2% in the previous session.

“All eyes are on the USDA report. Everyone knows it will show large stockpiles, but nobody wants to get caught on the wrong side of the numbers so activity is muted,” a Melbourne-based grains traders said. He declined to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

The market is already bracing for huge yields when USDA publishes its data at noon EDT (1600 GMT) on Wednesday. Analysts see corn production pegged at 180.5 bushels per acre.

While the USDA will drive the market direction, traders remained anxious about the extent of the damage from hurricane-force winds that flattened some fields in Iowa and Illinois.

Traders said they will check weekly crop-condition ratings from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on coming Monday to help determine the extent of crop damage from the storm.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s soon-to-be planted 2020/21 corn crop should reach about 6.3 million hectares, similar to the area of the recently harvested crop, thanks to attractive prices, local growers and analysts said.

The most active wheat futures down 0.5% at $4.92-1/2 a bushel, following a 0.8% gain on Tuesday.

The most active soybean futures were down 0.2% at $8.71-3/4 a bushel, after ending little changed on Tuesday.

Like with corn, analysts expect the USDA to show bumper soybean production.

U.S. soybean production is expected to be pegged at 51.2 bpa, up 2.8% from the trend-based July forecast. (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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