GRAINS-Soybean prices rebound after losses, US-China trade war drags

Chicago soybean futures edged up on Thursday, recouping some of the last session's deep losses which dragged the market to its weakest in almost 10 years on concerns over demand amid a U.S.-China trade dispute.

Wheat gained ground on bargain-buying after losing 8.4 percent in the past three sessions. The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade had risen 0.6 percent to $8.53-1/2 a bushel by 0331 GMT. It closed down 2.7 percent on Wednesday at $8.47-1/4 abushel, near its lowest since 2009.

Wheat futures were up 0.7 percent at $4.75-1/4 a bushel and corn gained 0.8 percent to $3.56 a bushel. Worries about rising trade tensions with China hung over markets in general after Washington detailed products to be covered by a 10 percent tariff on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China has vowed to strike back. The president of state grains trader COFCO was quoted on Wednesday as saying China could reduce reliance on U.S. soybeans by increasing imports of soybeans from other countries, or other oilseeds, or meat directly.

Analysts said the market has factored in China's higher tariffs on U.S. soybeans. "The U.S. is the cheapest soybean supplier now and non-Chinese demand should remain strong for U.S. beans," said an India-based agricultural commodities analyst at an international bank. "U.S. prices are well below cost of production and at this rate farmers will be reducing planting next year."

The wheat market is facing pressure from improved conditions of the U.S. spring crop and rains in parts of drought-hit Australia. Spring wheat ratings in the USDA's weekly crop conditions report were above trade estimates, fuelling expectations that the agency may boost its U.S. wheat production forecast in a monthly report later this week. France's farm office FranceAgriMer said on Tuesday the country had bigger wheat stocks than expected.

IKAR, one of the leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, said on Wednesday it had downgraded its forecast for Russia's 2018 grain crop to 112.8 million tonnes from apreviously expected 114.7 million tonnes. Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, wheat, soybean, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Wednesday, traders said.