March 5, 2018 / 4:03 AM / 18 days ago

GRAINS-Soybeans edge higher, U.S.-China trade tensions cap gains

    * Soybean prices at more than 7-month high
    * Dry weather in Argentina to curb production
    * Wheat rebounds, corn little changed

    By Colin Packham
    SYDNEY, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans extended gains on Monday into a fifth consecutive session as prices lingered near their highest in more than seven months, though rising trade tensions between the world's two largest
economies capped the advances.
    U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners such as China, Europe and neighboring Canada.
    Wheat climbed, rebounding from a 3 percent fall in the previous session, as adverse weather conditions across the U.S. plains provided support to prices, while corn remained little changed.
    The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.1 percent at $10.71-1/4 a bushel, as of 0353 GMT, having firmed 0.3 percent on Friday, when prices hit $10.82-1/2 a bushel, its highest since July 14,
    The most active wheat futures climbed 0.4 percent to $5.01-3/4 a bushel, after closing down 3 percent in the previous session, when prices had touched $5.18-1/2 a bushel, the steepest since July 2017.
    The most active corn futures were little changed at $3.85 a bushel, having closed down 0.3 percent on Friday.
    Analysts said soybeans continue to draw support from dry weather across Argentina, which is expected to crimp global production, though the threat that U.S. soybeans could be drawn into a trade dispute with China curbed further
    "Soybeans remain the focus as supply tightens," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The founder of the New Hope Group, one of China's biggest pig-breeding companies, said so on
Friday. But he also said they will have to find alternative feed sources if U.S. soybeans become ensnared in the dispute."
    South American exporters, however, would benefit a wide trade dispute as they pose stiff competition to the U.S. sellers.
    Crop conditions for drought-battered corn and soybeans in Argentina worsened this week and ratings among the top three provinces are now on average about 23 percentage points lower than a month ago. 
    Private analytics firm Informa Economics on Friday cut its forecast for Argentina's 2017/2018 soybean harvest by 7 million tonnes to 44 million tonnes.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday its private exporters reported a sale of 198,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, in the second day in a row that a sale to the world's biggest buyer of the oilseed has been
 Grains prices at 0353 GMT
 Contract        Last  Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg    MA 30   RSI 
 CBOT wheat    501.75    1.75   +0.35%       -2.67%   468.13     70
 CBOT corn     385.00   -0.25   -0.06%       -0.32%   372.16     68
 CBOT soy     1071.25    0.25   +0.02%       +0.30%  1021.28     85
 CBOT rice      12.52   $0.05   +0.40%       +0.12%   $12.45     57
 WTI crude      61.53   $0.28   +0.46%       +0.89%   $62.84     46
 Euro/dlr      $1.233  $0.001   +0.06%       +0.47%                
 USD/AUD       0.7751  -0.001   -0.14%       -0.04%                
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
 RSI 14, exponential
 (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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