March 7, 2018 / 2:57 AM / 17 days ago

GRAINS-Wheat falls 1 pct as USDA says condition of some crops improves

    * Wheat pressured as weather forecasts call for rain
    * Corn slips, soybeans edge lower 

    By Colin Packham
    SYDNEY, March 7 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures slid 1
percent on Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) said the condition of crops across several regions has
improved despite recent unfavourable weather.
    Soybeans edged lower, extending losses into a second
session, while corn also fell.
    The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade
 were down 1 percent at $5.01-3/4 a bushel, by 0232 GMT,
after closing down 0.4 percent on Tuesday. Wheat hit $5.18-1/2 a
bushel last week, its highest since July 2017.
    Analysts said wheat prices eased as the USDA said the
condition of crops in several key producing regions had picked
up, with brighter weather forecasts also improving the outlook
for crops.
    "The market seems to have been spooked early on by weather
models projecting extra rainfall in dry U.S. hard red winter
regions," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy,
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
    The USDA in a state crop report late Monday rated 13 percent
of the Kansas winter wheat crop in good-to-excellent condition,
up from 12 percent in a monthly report released Feb. 26.
    The USDA rated Oklahoma's wheat as 6 percent
good-to-excellent, up from 4 percent in a Feb. 26 monthly
    USDA on Thursday will release its monthly supply and demand
outlook for wheat, corn and soybeans. Some analysts expected the
agency to show larger U.S. wheat ending stocks due to weak
export demand and despite the risk of crop losses.
    The most active soybean futures slipped 0.4 percent to
$10.70-1/2 a bushel, after closing 0.3 percent lower in the
previous session.
    The most active corn futures slid 0.3 percent to
$3.87-1/4 a bushel, having ended 0.3 percent higher in the
previous session.
    Soybeans and corn had drawn recent support from expectations
of crop losses in Argentina as a result of recent dry weather.
    Some of the losses there, however, are expected to be offset
by higher production in Brazil, further pressuring prices that
are also threatened by the risk that international trade
tensions could disrupt China's massive imports of U.S. soybeans.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he would
impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium to protect
U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners
such as China, Europe and Canada. 
 Grains prices at  0232 GMT
 Contract       Last  Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg    MA 30   RSI 
 CBOT wheat   501.75   -5.25   -1.04%       -1.47%   472.88     74
 CBOT corn    387.25   -1.00   -0.26%       +0.00%   374.14     78
 CBOT soy    1070.50   -4.25   -0.40%       -0.65%  1026.56     68
 CBOT rice     12.42  -$0.06   -0.48%       -0.36%   $12.45     60
 WTI crude     62.09  -$0.51   -0.81%       -0.77%   $62.77     47
 Euro/dlr     $1.242  $0.002   +0.12%       +0.66%                
 USD/AUD      0.7795  -0.003   -0.41%       +0.40%                
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
 RSI 14, exponential
 (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Richard Pullin)
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