GRAINS-U.S. corn drops, wheat gains ahead of USDA data

Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:53am IST

* Analysts see thin trade ahead of Thursday's USDA data
    * Corn stuck between lower stocks, higher planting estimates
    * U.S. wheat areas get less rain than anticipated

    By Mayank Bhardwaj
    NEW DELHI, March 26 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures fell on
Tuesday after settling up 1 percent in the previous session, as
traders squared positions ahead of key data from the United
States Department of Agriculture expected later in the week.
    The USDA data, due on Thursday, is widely expected to reveal
the tightest stockpile of corn in 15 years but analysts also
estimate this year's corn planting to be the highest in 77
years, easing supply concerns.
    May corn shed 0.27 percent to $7.31-1/4 a bushel by
0505 GMT on the Chicago Board of Trade, having gained 1 percent
in the last session. May wheat gained 0.1 percent to $7.28
a bushel, after closing down 2-1/2 cents in the previous
session.
    May soybeans slipped 0.1 percent to $14.35-3/4 a
bushel. They had settled at $14.37-1/4 per bushel on Monday,
down 3-1/4 cents per bushel.
    "The fact that the USDA is expected to come out with the
numbers reflecting tighter supply positions is supportive for
corn," said Luke Mathews, commodities strategist at the
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
    "But corn will remain torn between expectations of tighter
supply numbers by the USDA and estimates of higher area under
planting," Mathews said.
    Analysts on average expect the USDA to peg quarterly corn
stocks as the smallest in 15 years. Investment funds were said
to have bought 7,000 corn contracts and sold 1,000 contracts
each of wheat and soybeans.
    Wheat rose, reflecting buoyant export demand, Mathews said.
    "Export demand was strong in the past week but concerns
remain about the impact of poor weather conditions in the United
States and there's nothing to be excited about on wheat," he
said.
    Analysts expect trading volumes to remain thin until
Thursday's report.
    Wheat-growing areas of the U.S. Plains have received light
rain but showers have been less than anticipated, while bitter
cold there may have damaged wheat plants emerging from winter
dormancy.
    For soybean, analysts expect the USDA will announce
quarterly stocks to be the smallest in nine years. Investment
funds were said to have sold 1,000 contracts of soybeans.
  Grains prices at  0505 GMT
  Contract        Last    Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg MA 30   RSI 
  CBOT wheat     728.00     0.75  +0.10%    -0.24%     719.68   61
  CBOT corn      731.25    -2.00  -0.27%    +0.69%     702.52   57
  CBOT soy      1435.75    -1.50  -0.10%    -0.33%    1441.23   45
  CBOT rice      $14.98    $0.05  +0.37%    +0.54%     $15.42   55
  WTI crude      $94.84    $0.03  +0.03%    +1.21%     $93.31   66
  Currencies                                                
  Euro/dlr       $1.286   $0.001  +0.09%    -0.94%
  USD/AUD         1.046    0.000  -0.04%    +0.17%
  Most active contracts
  Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
  RSI 14, exponential
 
 (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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