FOB Gulf Grain-Corn premiums steady-firm on good demand

May 7 (Reuters) – U.S. FOB Gulf corn basis offers were steady to higher for nearby shipments on Wednesday, supported by persistent demand from regular export customers and from domestic grain users, traders said.

* May FOB basis offers widened their inverse to a roughly 15-cent-per-bushel premium to June and July shipments. Few exporters still had May loading capacity left to sell.

* South American exporters are increasingly focused on soybean shipments so many importers are turning to the United States for corn, traders said.

* Japanese importers were in the market for August and September shipments from the Gulf, while some Central American importers were eyeing summertime shipments, a trader said. Major importer South Korea was well-supplied through the summer.

* U.S. corn export sales last week were estimated at 500,000-800,000 tonnes for old-crop and 100,000-300,000 tonnes of new-crop, analysts said ahead of Thursday’s weekly U.S. Agriculture Department report.

* Soybean export premiums at the Gulf held about steady amid seasonally slow export demand for U.S. supplies.

* Near term demand from China was sluggish and U.S. prices were about $40 per tonne above South American prices. Chinese importers inquired about South American soybeans arriving later in the summer, traders said.

* FOB May soybean basis offers held at 88 cents over Chicago Board of Trade May futures and June/July at 90 over July futures.

* Traders could not confirm market talk of another U.S. import purchase of Brazilian soybeans.

* Several traders expect U.S. imports of soybeans to top the current government full-season forecast of 65 million bushels. USDA is updating its forecasts on Friday.

* Soybean export sales in Thursday’s USDA report were expected to be very low, with possible net cancellations of old-crop sales.

* U.S. wheat export premiums at the Gulf were unchanged on limited demand, with U.S. prices at a steep premium to rival suppliers’ prices.

* U.S. winter wheat futures eased on Wednesday after hitting a more-than-one-year high a day earlier on worries about deteriorating crop conditions in the U.S. Plains.

* Worries about political turmoil in Ukraine, a major grain exporter, have underpinned wheat prices since March despite continued shipments from the region and historically ample global wheat supplies.

* Iraq issued an international tender to buy at least 50,000 tonnes of wheat from numerous origins. U.S. hard red winter wheat was not competitive as prices were about $100 per tonne above milling wheat prices in the Black Sea region.

* Taiwanese mills tendered to buy 110,450 tonnes of U.S. wheat for July shipment. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago)

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