January 30, 2018 / 2:55 AM / 22 days ago

GRAINS-Wheat jumps to 4-month high as U.S. winter crop ratings decline

    * Wheat up for 5th session, hits highest since late Sept
    * Corn climbs to highest since early Dec, soybeans ease
    * Argentina drought, lack of moisture in U.S. Plains support

 (Adds comment, detail)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat rose for a fifth
session on Tuesday to hit a four-month high, with gains fuelled
by dry weather in parts of the U.S. Plains and short-covering by
investors.
    Soybean prices eased after firming in the last session, when
the market was underpinned by dry weather in Argentina and
excessive rains in Brazil. Corn jumped to its highest since
early December on strong demand.
    The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract
had added 0.5 percent to $4.51-1/4 a bushel by GMT after
climbing to its highest since Sept. 29 at $4.55-1/4 a bushel.
    Soybeans gave up 0.3 percent to $9.88-3/4 a bushel and
corn gained 0.2 percent to $3.59-1/2 a bushel, after
hitting its highest since Dec. 4 at $3.60 a bushel.
    "The gain in wheat prices is more to do with dryness in U.S.
Plains," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National
Australia Bank. "For beans, there was dryness in Argentina
earlier and now rains are expected to delay the Brazilian
harvest."
    Condition ratings for winter wheat declined in January in
several southern U.S. Plains states that have been hit by
drought, including top producer Kansas, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said on Monday.
    The government rated 14 percent of the Kansas winter wheat
crop as in good-to-excellent condition, down from 37 percent at
the end of December and from 51 percent in the week to Nov. 26.
    The drought in Argentina's oilseed belt is expected to
reduce production in the world's biggest supplier of soymeal and
soyoil.
    Argentina received only scattered rain over the weekend,
mostly in northern and central portions of the country,
meteorologists said. They expect most crop areas to turn drier
and warmer than normal this week.
    Thunderstorms and rainfall in key soy producing regions
could hamper harvesting and delay planting of winter corn in
some areas of Brazil, according to a weather forecaster on
Monday.
    Investors are using this opportunity to boost positions.
    "Nothing can rouse the soybean meal bulls quite like a
weather scare in Argentina, and the week ended Jan. 23 was a
case in point," Karen Braun, a Reuters market analyst wrote in a
column.
    In the week ended Jan. 23, hedge funds and other money
managers increased their net long in CBOT soybean meal futures
and options to 33,221 contracts from 8,074 in the prior week,
according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading
Commission.
    Surging U.S. corn exports this month should gain even more
momentum, helped by a weakening dollar and dry weather in key
producing countries, traders and analysts said Friday.



 Grains prices at  0234 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  451.25  2.00     +0.45%   +3.86%       427.73  78
 CBOT corn   359.50  0.75     +0.21%   +1.20%       351.24  75
 CBOT soy    988.75  -2.75    -0.28%   -0.35%       971.01  64
 CBOT rice   12.41   -$0.03   -0.24%   +2.18%       $12.02  75
 WTI crude   65.30   -$0.26   -0.40%   -1.27%       $61.99  66
 Currencies                                                 
 Euro/dlr    $1.236  -$0.005  -0.44%   -0.25%               
 USD/AUD     0.8072  -0.004   -0.46%   +0.55%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 hundredweight
 RSI 14, exponential
    

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)
  
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