GRAINS-U.S. grains rangebound ahead of holiday, trade deal hopes

SHANGHAI, Dec 24 (Reuters) - U.S. grains were rangebound in early trade on Tuesday ahead of a public holiday and as optimism for China ramping up soy purchases following an announcement of a Phase 1 trade deal kept the market afloat.

China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, and the United States struck a so called “Phase 1” trade deal that includes a commitment by Beijing to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

China’s top agriculture consultancy said last week that the country will make good on a pledge to buy more than $40 billion of American farm goods.


* The most active wheat futures were up 0.2% on Tuesday morning at $5.40-1/2 a bushel at 0150 GMT, on track to snap a four-day losing string.

* The most active soybeans futures were down 0.1% at $9.32-3/4 a bushel, after hitting a six-week peak on trade deal hopes in the previous trading session.

* The most active corn futures were last down 0.1% at $3.88-1/2 a bushel.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on Monday that exporters sold 126,000 tonnes of soybeans for delivery to China during the 2019/2020 marketing year, while also changing destinations of 220,500 tonnes of soybeans to Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

* Export prices for Russian wheat rose for a sixth straight week last week due to a stronger rouble against the dollar and demand ahead of Russia’s New Year holiday, analysts said.

* Russian state-controlled grain trader United Grain Company (UGC) has drafted a new strategy aimed at increasing its own grain purchases and trade to 8 million tonnes a year by 2024, Russian daily the Kommersant reported on Monday.


* The Australian dollar held firm on Tuesday near a 4-1/2-month peak on optimism about U.S.-China trade relations, while the British pound was on the defensive as worries resurfaced about a chaotic departure from the European Union.

* Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday after Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, said cooperation with OPEC on supporting the market would continue and as analysts forecast a second weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories.

* Wall Street’s main indexes posted record closing highs on Monday after President Donald Trump said an initial U.S.-China trade pact would be signed soon, while Boeing gave the Dow a big boost after the planemaker ousted its chief executive officer.

Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Rashmi Aich