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GRAINS-Soybeans set for weekly drop of 2% on coronavirus fears

SYDNEY, Jan 31 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans climbed on Friday as traders squared positions, though the oilseed remained on course for a weekly loss of 2% as fears that a coronavirus outbreak could restrict Chinese demand weighed on market sentiment.


* The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade dropped more than 2% so far this week, set for the third straight weekly loss.

* Soybeans were up 0.7% at $8.82 a bushel after closing down 1.9% on Thursday when prices hit a Dec. 4 low of $8.75-1/2 a bushel.

* The most active corn futures lost more than 1% for the week so far, poised for the second straight weekly loss.

* The most active wheat futures declined 1.5% during the week, on track for the first weekly slide in a month.

* The spread of the new virus, which has killed at least 170 people so far, has reinforced doubts about China’s demand for U.S. crops after a lack of fresh Chinese purchases since the trade agreement two weeks ago.

* The World Health Organization on Thursday declared a global emergency as the virus spread to more countries.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that export sales of U.S. soybeans in the week ended Jan. 23 were 471,700 tonnes, near the low end of analysts’ expectations.

* Data showed 360,900 tonnes in weekly sales to China, the world’s top soybean importer, although 210,000 tonnes were sales previously reported to unknown destinations.

* The USDA reported weekly export sales of old-crop U.S. corn were 1,234,700 tonnes and new-crop sales were 143,600 tonnes, both above trade estimates. Total weekly U.S. wheat sales of 647,000 tonnes were near the high end of expectations.


* The U.S. dollar fell Thursday on news that the American economy in 2019 posted its slowest annual growth in three years and that personal consumption weakened dramatically, ending the currency’s rally on safe-haven demand from worries about economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

* Oil edged lower in volatile trading on Friday, posting a second consecutive weekly loss as caution about Europe’s debt crisis and year-end positioning continued to spark selling into rallies.

* A rally in U.S. stocks fizzled, leaving major indexes with modest gains on Friday, as Wall Street was torn between hope that U.S. economic data signals better times ahead and fear Europe’s debt crisis will engulf world economies.

Reporting by Colin Packham, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips