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GRAINS-Corn futures hit near 8-month low, wheat drops over 2%

* Forecasts of U.S. Midwest rains drag down Chicago corn futures

* Wheat falls more than 2% on hopes of higher Black Sea supplies (Adds quote in paragraph 3, updates prices)

SINGAPORE, July 22 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures slid 1.1% on Friday, with the market falling to its lowest in almost eight months as forecasts of favourable U.S. weather eased global supply worries.

Wheat fell more than 2% on expectations of higher supplies from the Black Sea region as Russia and Ukraine are due to sign a deal to open ports for grain shipments.

“Corn prices are down as the U.S. weather outlook has improved,” said one Singapore-based grains trader. “Russia is going to allow grain exports from Ukraine which is a good news for buyers but most importers are sceptical and not keen to sign deals to buy Ukrainian wheat as of now.”

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) fell 1.1% to $5.67 a bushel, after dropping to its the lowest since Nov. 30 at $5.63-1/2 a bushel. For the week, corn has declined 6%, falling for a second week in a row.

Wheat gave up 2.3% to $7.87-3/4 a bushel and soybeans lost 0.5% to $12.95 a bushel.

The corn market has lost ground on expectations of rains in the U.S. Midwest where corn is pollinating, its key reproductive phase.

However, the International Grains Council on Thursday trimmed its forecast for 2022/23 global corn output, largely driven by drought stress in the European Union.

In its monthly update, the inter-governmental body reduced its 2022/23 world corn (maize) crop outlook by 1 million tonnes to 1.189 billion tonnes, well below the previous season’s 1.220 billion tonnes.

The wheat market is facing pressure as Russia and Ukraine are set to sing a deal to boost exports.

Russia and Ukraine will sign a deal on Friday to reopen Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to grain exports, Turkey said, a hopeful sign that an international food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion could be eased.

Ukraine and Russia, both among the world’s biggest exporters of food, did not immediately confirm Thursday’s announcement by the office of the Turkish presidency. But in a late night video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hinted that his country’s Black Sea ports could soon be unblocked.

U.S. wheat exports have been gaining since the Russia-Ukraine war curbed shipments earlier this year.

U.S. wheat exporters last year notched their second-worst performance in a half century with global market share at an all-time low, as competing wheat offerings were plentiful and cheaper, Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters, wrote in a column.

But U.S. export prices have fallen sharply in the last two months, drawing the attention of global buyers and driving up weekly sales, which reached a nine-year high earlier this month, Braun added.

Egypt’s state grains buyer is believed to have bought an additional 120,000 tonnes of Russian and French wheat on Thursday, traders said, after booking 640,000 tonnes a day earlier.

Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT soybean, corn, wheat, soyoil and soymeal futures contracts on Thursday, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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