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GRAINS-Wheat hits near 2-month low on ample global stockpiles

SYDNEY, May 14 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures hit a near two-month low on Thursday on expectations of ample global stockpiles amid poor demand due to coronavirus-led shutdowns.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.1% to $5.01-3/4 a bushel by 0143 GMT, near the session low of $4.99-1/4 a bushel - the lowest since March 18. Wheat closed down 2.5% on Wednesday.

* The contract is down for the fourth straight session.

* Soybean futures were down 0.3% at $8.37-1/4 a bushel, having closed down 1.5% on Wednesday.

* Corn futures were up 0.36% to $7.53-3/4, having closed down 1.2% in the previous session.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that global wheat stocks at the end of the 2020/21 marketing year would rise to a record-large 310.12 million tonnes, up from 295.12 million at the end of 2019/20.

* The USDA confirmed private sales of 396,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, a day after reporting sales of an additional 136,000 tonnes to the world’s top soy importer.

* Weather forecasts in the Midwest crop belt were generally favourable for seeding. The USDA said the U.S. soybean crop was already 38% planted and the corn crop was 67% planted by Sunday, both ahead of their respective five-year averages.

* China is allocating more low-tariff import quotas for corn this year and may expand its use of wheat quotas as it seeks to step up farm purchases from the United States and meet a pledge to comply with global trade rules, three sources told Reuters.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar held onto gains against major currencies after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed speculation that policymakers will adopt negative interest rates.

* Oil prices crept up, supported by a surprise decline of U.S. crude inventories, but gains were capped by worries that a potential second wave of the coronavirus pandemic might trigger fresh lockdowns and slam fuel demand once again.

* Wall Street’s three major indexes closed lower for the second day in a row after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of extended economic weakness due to the COVID-19 pandemic and called for Congress to agree on additional fiscal support. (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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