GRAINS-Soybeans edge higher after hitting 2-month low amid virus scare

SYDNEY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans edged up on Monday after hitting a two-month low earlier in the session as fears that an outbreak of coronavirus will reduce demand from top consumer China.


* Market sentiment was buoyed after China’s central bank unexpectedly lowered the interest rates on reverse repurchase agreements by 10 basis points on Monday, as authorities stepped up measures to relieve pressure on the economy from a rapidly spreading virus outbreak.

* The death toll from the new coronavirus in China’s Hubei province rose by 56 to 350 on Monday, Chinese state television reported citing official figures, as investors braced for volatility when Chinese markets reopen after the Lunar New Year break.

* The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.2% at $8.74-1/2 a bushel, as of 0207 GMT. Earlier in the session, they hit a low of $8.70-3/4 a bushel, their weakest since Dec 3. Soybeans closed 0.4% lower on Friday.

* The most active corn futures were down 0.3% at $3.80-1/4 a bushel, having gained 0.5% in the previous session.

* The most active wheat futures were down 0.9% at $5.48-3/4 a bushel, near the session low of $5.47 a bushel - the lowest since Jan 8. Wheat closed 1.2% weaker on Friday.

* The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning that private exporters reported the sale of 134,000 tonnes of corn for delivery to South Korea in the 2019/20 marketing year.


* China’s yuan and its proxy, the Australian dollar, were poised for vulnerable day of trade on Monday in favour of safe-harbour currencies, in reaction to authorities’ drastic steps worldwide to curb the spread of a new virus which originated in China.

* Oil prices extended declines on Monday, dragged down by worries about lower demand in the world’s largest oil importer China following the coronavirus breakout. (Reporting by Colin Packham, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)