* Wheat hits highest since March 13 on U.S. dryness
* Corn, soybeans firm as weaker dollar supports
(Adds comment, detail)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, March 20 Chicago wheat hit its
highest in a week on Monday, buoyed by a weaker dollar and
concerns over a lack of moisture for the U.S. winter crop.
Corn and soybean prices rose, although gains were limited by
bumper South American supplies.
Dry weather for hard red winter wheat growing regions in the
United States is supporting wheat prices with rains forecast
later this week unlikely to provide much moisture.
"The U.S. hard red winter wheat crop's need for rain is
becoming more urgent," said Tobin Gorey, director of
agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
"Weather forecasters have had a rain event pencilled in for
the region for Wednesday to Friday this week, though moisture
and distribution was always uncertain. Forecasters now have a
clearer idea of that event and that is not crop friendly."
The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract
had gained 1.2 percent to $4.41-1/4 a bushel by 0244 GMT after
earlier in the session hitting its highest since March 13 at
$4.42 a bushel.
Corn rose 0.7 percent to $3.70 a bushel and soybeans
added 0.8 percent to $10.08-1/4 a bushel.
The dollar stayed on the defensive in Asia with bulls still
nursing a grudge after the Federal Reserve's rate guidance last
week proved to be less "hawkish" than many had wagered on.
A weakening U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. commodities more
attractive to overseas buyers as well as investors looking for a
hedge against inflation, provided some support to grains and
Abundant supplies and the prospects for strong South
American harvests of soybeans and corn limited gains.
Argentine corn and soybeans should benefit from high yields
brought by good weather, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said
last week, adding it might increase its soybean harvest
Workers at Argentina's biggest agricultural port hub,
Rosario, have voted to hold a 24-hour strike on March 30 to
demand better wages and an end to dismissals, a union leader
The stoppage will likely affect the shipment of grains and
their by-products from global food supplier Argentina, where
companies such as Cargill , Bunge and Louis
Dreyfus <BG.N > have their own terminals.
Large speculators switched to a net short position in CBOT
corn futures in the week to March 14, regulatory data released
on Friday showed.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly
commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial
traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their
net short position in CBOT wheat and cut their net long position
Grains prices at 0244 GMT
Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI
CBOT wheat 441.25 5.00 +1.15% +1.20% 449.70 65
CBOT corn 370.00 2.50 +0.68% +1.09% 373.48 61
CBOT soy 1008.25 8.25 +0.83% +0.67% 1033.69 50
CBOT rice 9.88 -$0.04 -0.35% +0.51% $9.71 77
WTI crude 48.42 -$0.36 -0.74% -0.68% $51.99 29
Euro/dlr $1.076 $0.003 +0.24% -0.02%
USD/AUD 0.7722 0.002 +0.31% +0.59%
Most active contracts
Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
RSI 14, exponential
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)