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GRAINS-Wheat highest since 2012 on supply concerns, strong global demand

    * Chicago wheat futures gain ground on U.S. crop concerns
    * Strong global demand provides support to wheat prices
    * European front month contract hits record high

 (Updates prices, adds quote, details, European record)
    By Sybille de La Hamaide and Naveen Thukral
    PARIS/SINGAPORE, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat rose to its
highest in almost nine years Tuesday as the declining condition
of the U.S. winter crop raised worries over global supply at a
time of tight global stocks and strong international demand.
    Corn followed suit higher and soybeans also gained ground.
    The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade
(CBOT) was up 0.8% at $8.03-1/2 a bushel, as of 1115 GMT,
after hitting a December 2012 high of $8.07 a bushel in earlier
trade. It closed 3.2% higher on Monday.
    In Europe, the Paris-based front-month contract December
 scored an all-time high of 296.75 euros ($343.96) a
tonne while most-traded March hit a 13-1/2 year high of
289.00 euros per tonne.
    U.S. corn rose 0.3% to $5.80-3/4 a bushel and soybeans
 gained 0.5% at $12.54-1/2 a bushel.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rated 45% of the
2022 winter wheat crop in "good-to-excellent" condition. That
was 3 percentage points below analyst expectations.
    "There are concerns about the upcoming (wheat) crop at a
time when global stocks are already low and demand is strong.
That's quite an explosive combination," a European trader said.
    Poor spring wheat harvests and an export duty imposed by
Russia have heightened expectations of relatively tight supplies
this season.
    Russian wheat export prices gained further last week, amid
higher prices for wheat in Chicago and Paris and demand from
Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer, analysts said on
Monday.
    "Wheat prices are not expected to fall noticeably in the
near future. Prices are in fact rising across the board, which
makes it impossible to switch to different suppliers,"
Commerzbank said in a note.
    Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency said it bought
about 1.268 million metric tonnes of milling wheat in a massive
deal that exceeded some traders' expectations.
    The U.S. soybean harvest was 79% complete, as of Sunday, the
USDA said in a weekly crop progress report on Monday, behind the
five-year average of 81% and the average estimate in a Reuters
analyst poll, also 81%.
    The U.S. corn crop was 74% harvested, the USDA said, ahead
of the five-year average of 66% but behind the average analyst
expectation of 75%. 
    Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, wheat and
soyoil futures contracts on Monday, traders said. The funds were
net even in soybeans and net sellers of soymeal futures, they
said.    
    
 Prices at 1115 GMT                                           
                                     Last       Change     Pct
                                                          Move
  CBOT wheat                       803.50         6.25    0.78
  CBOT corn                        580.75         1.75    0.30
  CBOT soy                        1254.25         5.75    0.46
  Paris wheat March                287.75         3.25    1.14
  Paris maize Nov                  239.50        14.50    6.44
  Paris rape Nov                   694.00         4.75    0.69
  WTI crude oil                     83.86        -0.19   -0.23
  Euro/dlr                           1.16         0.00   -0.08
 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel,
 Paris futures in euros per tonne
 
 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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