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GRAINS-Declining Ukrainian exports boost U.S. grains

(New throughout; updates byline, dateline previously HAMBURG)

CHICAGO, April 4 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat, soybean and corn climbed on Monday, underpinned by disrupted supplies of Black Sea grains as the conflict in Ukraine continues, while attention shifts to U.S. production.

Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat rose 21-1/4 cents to $10.05-1/4 a bushel by 10:53 a.m. (1553 GMT).

Soybeans added 16-1/2 cents to $15.99-1/4 a bushel, while corn firmed 9-1/4 cents to $7.44-1/4 a bushel.

Ukrainian grain exports in March were four times less than February levels due to the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s economy ministry said on Sunday.

Ukraine’s winter wheat harvest and spring planting remain uncertain, while exporters look for ways to ship grain by rail as sea ports remain blocked by Russian forces.

“It’s a multi-year event, no matter who turns out in control of the area. The infrastructure is damaged severely. That reality has come back into play in all commodities this morning,” said Chuck Shelby, president of Risk Management Commodities.

Corn futures were boosted as private exporters reported the sale of 1.084 million tonnes of U.S. corn to China - 676,000 tonnes for delivery in the 2021/22 marketing year and 408,000 tonnes for delivery in 2022/23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

“We haven’t seen one this large in, I don’t know how long,” said Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain. “More than half of that sale is corn they intend to take delivery of prior to the end of August.”

That is on top of 1.53 tonnes of corn inspected for export the week ended March 31, near the high end of analyst expectations.

U.S. soybean shipments were seen at 737,372 tonnes, in line with analyst predictions. Wheat shippers saw 297,341 tonnes inspected, near the low end of analyst projections.

The USDA begins weekly crop progress reports on Monday afternoon, with traders focusing on U.S. planting and weather amid a tight global supply of both corn and soybeans.

“Until the market’s comfortable that we’ll have a really good crop, I think you’ll see premium put in this market,” said Shelby. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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