March 20, 2018 / 3:27 AM / 4 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat prices firm after deep losses, rains aid drought-hit U.S. winter crop

    * Wheat rises 1 pct after steepest 3-day loss since 2013
    * Rains in parts of U.S. Plains ease some drought concerns

 (Adds details, quotes)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, March 20 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat prices rose on
Tuesday, clawing back some ground from their biggest three-day
decline since 2013 after rains brought relief to the parched
U.S. winter wheat crop in the southern Plains.
    Corn ticked higher to end a four-session losing streak,
while soybeans edged up following steep losses on Monday.
    The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract
had risen 1 percent to $4.55-1/4 a bushel by 0305 GMT. The
market had slid 7.8 percent in the previous three sessions, the
biggest three-day decline since April, 2013. 
    Corn was up 0.2 percent at $3.75-3/4 a bushel, having
dropped 2 percent on Monday. Soybeans gained 0.2 percent
to $10.25 a bushel, having fallen 2.6 percent in the last
session.
    "(There was) some weekend rain in some U.S. hard red winter
wheat regions and model projections suggested more to come,"
said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
    "Investors are also heavily long and the swing in momentum
may be prompting them to sell. U.S. wheat prices had also made
U.S. exports uncompetitive, so trade buying was minimal."
    A winter storm brought beneficial rain and snow on Monday to
portions of the southern U.S. Plains. The region's hard red
winter wheat crop has endured months of drought.
    The storm produced about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of moisture across
northern, central and eastern Kansas, the biggest U.S.
wheat-growing state. It also hit Nebraska and northern Colorado.
    The region's hard red winter wheat is starting to emerge
from dormancy and resume spring growth, a phase that ratchets up
its need for moisture.
    After the market closed on Monday, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture rated 11 percent of the winter wheat in top state
Kansas in good-to-excellent condition, down from 12 percent a
week earlier. Wheat ratings also declined in Texas.
    For corn, some analysts cited pressure from rains in crop
areas of Argentina.
    Wheat from Australia was offered at the lowest price of $306
a tonne (c&f) in Iraq's tender to purchase a minimum 50,000
tonnes of hard milling wheat which closed on Monday. 
    Active trading in CME Group's new cash-settled
futures for Black Sea grain suggests the exchange may have found
a way to tap into booming Black Sea export trade after an
unsuccessful earlier foray in the region.
    Commodity funds were net sellers of CBOT corn, soybean,
wheat and soymeal futures on Monday and small net buyers of
soyoil futures.
    
 Grains prices at 0305 GMT
 Contract    Last     Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30    RSI
 CBOT wheat  455.25   4.50     +1.00%   -4.91%       478.93   31
 CBOT corn   375.75   0.75     +0.20%   -2.84%       379.72   38
 CBOT soy    1025.00  2.50     +0.24%   -1.51%       1037.36  42
 CBOT rice   12.30    $0.01    +0.08%   -0.93%       $12.40   50
 WTI crude   62.26    $0.20    +0.32%   -0.13%       $61.59   57
 Currencies                                                   
 Euro/dlr    $1.234   -$0.002  -0.18%   -0.37%                
 USD/AUD     0.7710   -0.017   -2.12%   -1.87%                
 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 and Kenneth Maxwell)
  
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