March 2, 2018 / 4:22 AM / 21 days ago

GRAINS-Wheat set for biggest weekly gain in 32 months on dry US weather

    * Wheat up 11.3 pct this week, biggest gain since June 2015
    * Dry weather across U.S. Plains boosting wheat prices

 (Adds details, quotes)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, March 2 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures were on
track for their biggest weekly gain since late June 2015 on
Friday as forecasts of more dry weather across the U.S. Plains
supported the market.
    Soybeans are poised for a fourth consecutive week of gains
as a severe drought in Argentina threatens to reduce global
surplus, while corn is on track for its biggest rally since
early July.
    Wheat futures have rallied for the last six sessions with
dry weather expected to curb U.S. winter crop yields.
    Agricultural meteorologists are forecasting below-normal
moisture levels over the next few weeks which are expected
further damage the crop.
    The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract
has jumped 11.3 percent this week, the market's biggest rally
since June 2015. Soybeans are up 2.8 percent this week
while corn has gained 5.7 percent. 
    Dry weather in Argentina, the world's biggest soyoil and
soymeal supplier, is supporting prices.
    "We are seeing pretty strong move in wheat prices and it is
all because of U.S. winter wheat crop," said Phin Ziebell, an
agribusiness economist for National Australia Bank.
    "It is very interesting to see this, we are adjusting our
grain-price outlook as there is potential for more upside. There
is likely to be supply response to this price rally."
    Crop conditions for drought-battered corn and soybeans in
Argentina fell further this week, and ratings among the top
three provinces are now on average about 23 percentage points
lower than a month ago.
    The poor conditions prompted the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange
to slash the country's soybean crop on Thursday to 44 million
tonnes from its previous estimate of 47 million. It maintained
corn at 37 million tonnes.
    About 57.5 million tonnes of soybeans were harvested a year
ago, along with roughly 40 million tonnes of corn.
    Argentina's lower production is expected generate more
demand for U.S. soybeans and corn.
    The U.S. Agriculture Department on Thursday morning reported
weekly soybean export sales of 979,900 tonnes, which topped
forecasts for 400,000 tonnes to 800,000 tonnes.
    The agency also announced snap soybean sales on Thursday
that totalled 246,000 tonnes, including 120,000 tonnes for
delivery to China during the current marketing year.
    The USDA's weekly report showed corn export sales of 1.753
million tonnes, up from 1.621 million a week ago. Analysts
forecasts ranged from 1 million tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes.

 Contract    Last     Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30    RSI
 CBOT wheat  516.50   1.00     +0.19%   +8.28%       463.93   85
 CBOT corn   387.25   1.00     +0.26%   +4.52%       363.23   88
 CBOT soy    1076.75  8.75     +0.82%   +2.60%       1015.92  88
 CBOT rice   12.45    -$0.05   -0.44%   +2.34%       $12.44   68
 WTI crude   60.94    -$0.05   -0.08%   -1.14%       $62.89   40
 Euro/dlr    $1.228   -$0.001  -0.11%   -0.41%                
 USD/AUD     0.7755   -0.009   -1.11%   -1.15%                
 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; editing by Richard Pullin and
Gopakumar Warrier)
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