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Morning markets: palm plods ahead of static soy

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Palm oil got off to the brightest start on Tuesday, as traders revisited production estimates, while Chicago grains struggled against uncertainty ahead of a key report due later.

Outside markets did not offer much help, as consolidation set in following recent rises. Oil slipped again, down $0.45 a barrel at $58.05 for New York's June contract at 06:00 GMT with Brent crude off $0.33 at $57.15.

Tokyo shares closed 1.6% lower.

Still, palm oil for July managed a 28 ringgit gain to 2,688 ringgit a tonne in the morning session on Bursa Malaysia as traders pondered the impact of hot and dry weather on the Malaysian crop.

Although figures on Monday showed a small rise in palm oil output, which typically peaks in November, some traders have speculated that the revival may be curtailed by lower plantation yields.

'Position squaring'

Meanwhile, the big Chicago contracts hung around near opening levels, as traders shied away from taking positions ahead of the US Department of Agriculture's supply and demand report.

"We just have position squaring ahead of the report tonight," Toby Hassall, an analyst with Commodity Warrants Australia, told Reuters, the news agency.

May soybeans were 4.5 cents lower at $11.33 a bushel, with the better-traded July contract off 1.75 cents at $11.14 ¼ a bushel.

Corn was 0.25 cents higher at $4.13 ¾ a bushel for May and all of 0.75 cents up at $4.22 a bushel for July.

Wheat was a little braver, helped by official data showing planting of the US spring crop still way behind.

Wheat for July delivery added 1.25 cents to $5.92 a bushel, with later 2009 contracts showing similar gains.

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