GRAINS-Soybeans rise as strong export sales fuel supply concerns

(New throughout, updates with U.S. trading, changes byline, dateline)

* Wheat extends gains into second session

* Traders await USDA reports due on Monday

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, June 26 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures rose on Thursday as stronger-than-expected export sales re-ignited concerns about dwindling old-crop supplies.

Corn futures advanced for the first time in four sessions, while wheat gained for the second straight session, bouncing from a four-month low set early on Wednesday.

Strong demand for U.S. soybeans lifted prices as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export sales last week were 774,800 tonnes, above estimates for 250,000 to 550,000 tonnes. Within that total, sales of old-crop soybeans alone were 317,200 tonnes, a surprise for traders because inventories are scarce.

The USDA, in a quarterly report on Monday, is expected to say that U.S. soybean stock as of June 1 were 378 million bushels, a 37-year low for that date, according to a Reuters survey of analysts.

“Old-crop sales people were thinking would be none or even negative,” said Mike Krueger, president of the Money Farm in North Dakota.

Front-month soybean futures traded up 0.9 percent to $14.28-1/2 a bushel at of 10:35 a.m. CDT (1535 GMT) at the Chicago Board of Trade.

November soybean futures, which represent the crop that will be harvested in the autumn, rose 0.6 percent to $14.36-1/2 a bushel. The upcoming harvest is expected to help replenish supplies.

Front-month corn futures rose 0.7 percent to $4.44-1/4 a bushel, while new-crop December corn gained 1 percent to $4.44-1/2. Front-month wheat futures added 0.3 percent to $5.77-1/4.

Corn prices rose on positioning ahead of USDA reports on stocks and plantings on Monday. Prices hit a four-month low last week on expectations for a bumper U.S. harvest.

“We’ve crashed the market pretty hard the last two to three weeks,” Krueger said. “We’ve factored in yield prospects.”

Analysts expect U.S. corn stocks were 3.722 billion bushels as of June 1, a four-year high for that date, and wheat stocks were 598 million bushels, which would be the lowest in six years.

Prices at 10:32 a.m. CDT (1532 GMT)                           
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  443.50     2.50   0.6%    5.1%
 CBOT soy                  1427.00    11.25   0.8%    8.7%
 CBOT meal                  457.50     5.80   1.3%    4.5%
 CBOT soyoil                 40.60    -0.05  -0.1%    4.6%
 CBOT wheat                 578.25     2.75   0.5%   -4.5%
 (Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Sybille de
La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Jason Neely and David Gregorio)

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