GRAINS-Corn off 7-week high, set for 4.5 pct quarterly rise

Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:41am IST

SYDNEY, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. corn dipped on Thursday,
succumbing to profit-taking ahead of the Easter holiday and
after the grain hit a seven-week high in the previous session,
supported by a slide in ethanol stocks.
    Despite the fall, corn is on course to finish the quarter up
more than 4.5 percent with forecasts that tight stocks will be
revealed in the latest U.S. Agriculture Department crops and
planting report due later in the day.
    Wheat fell, having hit a five-week high on Wednesday, but
will finish the quarter down more than 6 percent as expectations
for a plentiful U.S. winter crop weighed on prices. 
         
    FUNDAMENTALS  
    * Chicago Board Of Trade May corn fell 0.24 percent to
$7.33-3/4 a bushel, having hit a seven-week high $7.37-3/4 a
bushel. Corn closed up 0.67 percent in the previous session.
    * Corn is poised to finish the quarter up 4.68 percent,
rebounding from losses of nearly 7.5 percent in the fourth
quarter of 2012.
    * Corn is up more than 4 percent during March, rebounding
from a loss of more than 5 percent in previous month. 
    * Corn is up nearly 1 percent for the week, the third
consecutive gain.
    * May wheat fell 0.17 percent to $7.35-1/2 a bushel,
having hit a five-week high of $7.40-3/4 a bushel. Wheat closed
up 0.72 percent on Wednesday. 
    * Wheat is on course to finish the month up nearly 3
percent, the biggest rise in eight months, but will finish the
quarter down 6.63 percent, the second straight quarterly fall.
    * Wheat is up 0.8 percent for the week, the third straight
weekly rise.
    * May soybeans were little changed $14.53-1/4 a
bushel, having firmed 0.41 percent on Wednesday.
    * Soybeans are up 3.9 percent for the quarter, recouping
losses from the previous quarter when the oilseed fell more than
8 percent.
    * Soybeans are on course to finish the month down 0.5
percent.
    * Soybeans are up 0.92 percent for the week for the second
straight week.
    * The U.S. Agriculture Department is expected to confirm
U.S. corn supplies fell to a 15-year low as demand from
livestock and poultry producers as well as ethanol makers
depleted already thin stocks. 
    * Analysts expect USDA to peg corn stocks as of March 1 were
5.013 billion bushels, according to the average of estimates in
a Reuters survey of 21 analysts.
    * The average of estimates for soybean stocks is 935 million
bushels, down from 1.374 billion bushels a year earlier.
    * For wheat, analysts, on average, are expecting the USDA
report to show March 1 stocks of 1.177 billion bushels, down
from 1.199 billion bushels in March 2012.
    * USDA will also release estimates of U.S. spring plantings
in one of the most closely-watched crop reports of the year,
which is scheduled for release on Thursday, three hours before
trade halts for a three-day weekend.
    * The Energy Information Administration said ethanol stocks
fell to 17.4 million barrels last week, down from 18.5 million
barrels in the previous week.
    * Wheat was supported after freeze concerns prompted
investors to cover their bearish bets. Bitter-cold weather
earlier this week in the southern U.S. Plains region that grows
most of the wheat in the United States may have damaged plants
emerging from winter dormancy.
    * Iraq, one of the world's largest importers of wheat,
bought 350,000 tonnes of the grain from Australia in a tender, a
trade ministry statement said. 
    * Argentine corn harvesting progressed briskly over the last
week and outpaced soy collection, the Buenos Aires Grains
Exchange said on Wednesday, keeping its harvest estimates
unchanged despite disparate yield. 
             
    MARKET NEWS  
    * The euro languished at four-month lows early in Asia on
Thursday, having suffered a further setback as a rise in Italy's
funding costs weighed on markets already fretting about Cyprus'
rescue deal.  
    * Crude oil prices rose on Wednesday in choppy trading as
U.S. heating oil rallied on falling distillate inventories,
while rising crude oil stockpiles in the United States and the
stronger dollar limited gains.  
    * U.S. stocks rebounded from early declines to close little
changed on Wednesday, but investors were still worried about the
chance of a run on Cypriot banks and its possible implications
for other euro-zone lenders.  
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 
    0700 Germany Retail sales                  
    0855 Germany Unemployment rate             
    0900 EZ      M3 money supply               
    0900 Italy   Business confidence           
    1230 U.S.    Final                Q4 GDP   
    1230 U.S.    Weekly jobless claims 
    1345 U.S.    Chicago PMI                   

    
  Grains prices at  2334 GMT
  Contract        Last    Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg MA 30   RSI 
  CBOT wheat     735.50    -1.25  -0.17%    +0.55%     719.56   66
  CBOT corn      733.50    -1.75  -0.24%    +0.45%     706.12   58
  CBOT soy      1453.25    -0.50  -0.03%    +0.38%    1444.93   54
  CBOT rice      $15.39    $0.06  +0.39%    +2.63%     $15.38   71
  WTI crude      $96.71    $0.13  +0.13%    +0.38%     $93.31   74
  Currencies                                                
  Euro/dlr       $1.278   $0.000  -0.02%    -0.64%
  USD/AUD         1.044    0.000  +0.00%    -0.37%
  Most active contracts
  Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
  RSI 14, exponential
 
 (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Ed Davies)
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