February 8, 2018 / 3:20 AM / 5 months ago

GRAINS-Wheat prices hit 6-mth high on US weather, short-covering

    * Dry weather in U.S. Plains driving up wheat prices
    * Chicago wheat futures gain more than 5 pct in 3 days
    * Soybeans edge higher, corn dips ahead of USDA report

 (Adds comment, detail)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures rose for
a third session on Thursday to hit a six-month high, buoyed as
dry weather threatens U.S. winter crop yields and as investors
cover short positions.
    Soybean prices ticked higher, while corn eased ahead of a
key U.S. Department of Agriculture report due later in the day.
    The Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat contract
had gained 0.5 percent to $4.62-3/4 a bushel by 0259 GMT, after
earlier marking its highest since Aug. 8 at $4.64-1/2 a bushel.
Wheat has risen 5.3 percent in three sessions.
    Soybeans gained 0.1 percent to $9.84 a bushel, while
corn slid 0.1 percent to $3.65 a bushel.
    "There are issues with the U.S. wheat crop, but we think
these gains are more to do with shorts covering positions," said
one Singapore-based trader.
    "As far as global supplies are concerned, there is no real
threat as of now."
    Wheat prices climbed amid concern about dry weather for the
U.S. crop. While the 2018 crop is still in its winter dormancy,
soil moisture is in tight supply and monthly crop ratings fell
sharply in January.
    World wheat supplies are abundant following bumper
production in some of the key exporting countries, including
Russia. But demand continues to remain strong.
    France exported 792,000 tonnes of soft wheat outside the
European Union in December, the largest monthly volume so far in
the 2017/18 marketing year, customs data showed on Wednesday.
    The USDA will issue its latest world supply and demand
reports at 1700 GMT. Analysts surveyed by Reuters on average
expect the USDA to raise its forecast of U.S. 2017/18 soybean
ending stocks, reflecting a sluggish export pace.
    There are concerns over grain and oilseed supplies from
Argentina, a leading exporter of farm goods.
    A strike by Argentine truck owners aimed at forcing an
increase in hauling rates has halted grains unloading at some of
the country's terminals, Guillermo Wade, manager of the Chamber
of Port and Maritime Activities, said on Wednesday.
    Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, wheat and
soymeal futures on Wednesday and net sellers of soybeans and
soyoil, traders said. Trade estimates of net fund buying in corn
ranged from 10,000 to 22,000 contracts, and in wheat from 7,000
to 15,000 contracts.
 Grains prices at  0259 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  462.75  2.25    +0.49%   +3.70%       435.75  72
 CBOT corn   365.00  -0.25   -0.07%   +0.41%       354.65  72
 CBOT soy    984.00  1.00    +0.10%   -0.23%       975.19  52
 CBOT rice   12.44   -$0.06  -0.48%   -0.88%       $12.13  60
 WTI crude   61.57   -$0.22  -0.36%   -2.87%       $63.30  29
 Euro/dlr    $1.227  $0.001  +0.10%   -0.82%               
 USD/AUD     0.7827  0.001   +0.08%   -0.99%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 RSI 14, exponential
 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral
Editing by Joseph Radford)
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