December 18, 2017 / 2:00 AM / 6 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat climbs to one-week high on U.S. weather concerns

    SINGAPORE, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures rose to
a one-week high on Monday, heading for a third session of gain
in four, with prices underpinned by concerns over dry weather
hurting the U.S. winter crop.
    Corn slid for a third consecutive session, while soybeans
were largely unchanged after closing marginally lower on Friday
as improved South American weather weighed on prices.
    * A combination of delays to autumn planting and dry
conditions in the southern U.S. Plains have left the hard red
winter crop vulnerable to freeze damage, crop experts said,
which could further tighten supplies of high-protein wheat.

    * A cold spell is forecast for later in December. Any freeze
in the coming months could pose an outsize threat to supply,
given there is already a shortage of high-protein wheat.
    * There was additional support for the wheat market from
improved demand. 
    * The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday morning
that private exporters reported the sale of 130,000 tonnes of
soft red winter wheat to unknown destinations for delivery
during the 2017/18 marketing year.
    * That followed news earlier last week that U.S. exporters
booked a deal to sell 120,000 tonnes of hard red winter wheat to
    * Forecasts of rains in parched areas of South America's
crop-belt added pressure on corn and soybeans. 
    * Above-normal rainfall is expected across eastern Argentina
and southern Brazil ... which should lead to notable
improvements in soil moisture, MDA Weather Services said in a
note to clients.
    * Private analytics firm Informa Economics raised its
forecast of U.S. 2018 soybean plantings to 91.387 million acres,
a potential record high, and trimmed its 2018 corn plantings
projection to 89.675 million acres, according to an Informa
client note obtained by Reuters on Friday.
    * Informa also lowered its estimate of U.S. winter wheat
plantings for harvest in 2018 to 31.093 million acres, from its
month-ago figure of 31.923 million. 
    * Large speculators increased their net short position in
Chicago Board of Trade corn futures in the week to Dec. 12,
regulatory data released on Friday showed. 
    * The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly
commitments of traders report also showed that non-commercial
traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their
net short position in CBOT wheat and switched to a net short
position in soybeans.
    * Asian shares inched up on Monday, tracking Wall Street,
which hit record highs on expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass
a long-awaited tax bill, while the British pound hovered near
3-week lows amid Brexit talks.
0130  China                House prices                      Nov
1500  U.S.                  NAHB housing market index        Dec
 Grains prices at  0141 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  421.75  3.50    +0.84%   +1.20%       434.69  70
 CBOT corn   346.75  -0.75   -0.22%   -0.64%       354.60  65
 CBOT soy    968.25  1.00    +0.10%   -1.12%       987.47  31
 CBOT rice   11.72   $0.01   +0.09%   -0.47%       $12.01  34
 WTI crude   57.34   $0.04   +0.07%   +0.53%       $57.08  51
 Euro/dlr    $1.175  $0.000  -0.01%   -0.22%               
 USD/AUD     0.7646  0.000   +0.03%   -0.25%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 RSI 14, exponential

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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