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GRAINS-Wheat eases as US crop rating improves; corn, soy firm
April 9, 2013 / 3:22 AM / 4 years ago

GRAINS-Wheat eases as US crop rating improves; corn, soy firm

* Wheat falls, snaps two straight sessions of gains
    * U.S. winter wheat ratings improve, weigh on prices
    * Corn up for 2nd day, supported by planting delay

 (Adds details, quotes, updates prices)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, April 9 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat edged lower on
Tuesday, snapping two consecutive sessions of gains and falling
from a nearly two-week high as improvement in U.S. winter crop
ratings weighed on the market.
    Corn rose for a second day in row as wet weather in key
growing areas across the U.S. Midwest threatened to delay the
start of planting this week. 
    U.S. winter wheat condition ratings improved in the latest
week but hovered at the lowest level for this time of year since
2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress
report showed. 
    The USDA said 36 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was
rated in good to excellent condition, up from 34 percent a week
earlier. 
    "Wheat prices were being supported by harsh U.S. winter
which was hurting the wheat crop," said Joyce Liu, an analyst at
Phillip Futures. "With the improvement in wheat crop condition,
I think some of those fears have eased."
    The southern U.S. Plains have struggled with drought since
before the winter crop was seeded last autumn, although recent
storms have brought relief to some areas. Farmers in the region
produce hard red winter wheat. Ratings showed more improvement
in the Midwest, which produces soft red winter wheat.
    Chicago Board of Trade May wheat slid 0.5 percent to
$7.09 a bushel by 0249 GMT, after hitting its highest since
March 28 at $7.16 on Monday when strong demand for U.S. supplies
led by China underpinned prices.
    China bought 14 to 16 cargoes of U.S. wheat on Thursday for
delivery from June to December, said the China National Grain
and Oils Information Center, an official think tank. The
announcement confirmed rumours that supported wheat prices last
week. 
    Among other grains, May corn added 0.7 percent to
$6.38 a bushel and May soybeans gained 0.4 percent to
$13.84 a bushel.
    Chicago corn futures are being buoyed by planting delays due
to wet weather in places such as Illinois and Iowa.
    Widespread rainfall in the U.S. Midwest and Plains this week
will add valuable soil moisture in drought-stricken areas but
also stall spring fieldwork and prevent early corn seedings, an
agricultural meteorologist said on Monday. 
    Another round of wet weather is expected in the crop region
early next week, further slowing corn plantings.
    The soybean market found support from bargain-hunters after
prices on Friday dropped to their lowest level since June.
    Investors in the soybean market are also keeping a close
watch on China, where an outbreak of bird flu could possibly
hurt chicken consumption and reduce demand for feed grains.
    A strain of bird flu that has been found in humans for the
first time in eastern China is no cause for panic, the World
Health Organization said on Monday, as the number of people
infected rose to 24, with seven deaths. 
    China has said it is mobilising resources nationwide to
combat the new strain, monitoring hundreds of close contacts of
confirmed cases and culling tens of thousands of birds where
traces of the virus were found.

  Prices at  0249 GMT
  Contract        Last    Change  Pct chg  MA 30   RSI 
  CBOT wheat     709.00    -3.50  -0.49%   868.04   53
  CBOT corn      638.00     4.50  +0.71%   763.18   26
  CBOT soy      1384.00     6.00  +0.44%  1576.68   41
  CBOT rice      $15.59    $0.01  +0.06%   $15.49   63
  WTI crude      $93.54    $0.18  +0.19%   $89.10   43
  Currencies                                                
  Euro/dlr       $1.306   $0.077  
  USD/AUD         1.043   -0.012  
  Most active contracts
  Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
  RSI 14, exponential
 
 (Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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