Wheat rallies as weather risks return; corn and soy steady

Market awaiting USDA supply-demand update on Friday


PARIS/SINGAPORE- U.S. wheat futures gained more ground on Thursday as dryness in spring wheat-growing regions focused attention back on weather risks.

Corn edged up, supported by a slow start to U.S. planting and concern over dry conditions in Brazil. Soybeans were little changed.

Grain markets were also awaiting direction from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) monthly supply and demand forecasts on Friday.

Before that, the USDA will give a demand update in weekly U.S. export sales later on Thursday.

After favourable conditions for northern hemisphere winter wheat crops helped to push prices to three-month lows in the past week, parched conditions in U.S. and Canadian spring wheat zones were creating worries about upcoming planting.

About two thirds of the northern U.S. Plains spring wheat belt was expected to stay too dry in the week ahead as it missed out on rain, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note.

"Dry weather is an issue for spring wheat in the U.S. but we have a long way to go before we start getting too worried," said one Singapore-based trader.

In France, the European Union's top wheat grower, a cold spell this week that brought some record temperature lows for April, as well as increasingly dry conditions, was starting to temper recent optimism about harvest prospects. 

A string of wheat import tenders in the past week has also helped to underpin wheat despite strong competition from Black Sea origins.

The most active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) gained 1.4% to $6.25 a bushel by 1201 GMT.

Front-month U.S. spring wheat on the MGEX exchange was up 1.7%.

Soybeans Sv1 edged up by half a cent to $14.09-1/4 a bushel and corn added 0.4% to $5.62-3/4 a bushel.

Brazil expects to export 16.3 million tonnes of soybeans from its rain-slowed harvest in April, up from 14.2 million a year ago, said export association.

Brazil's second-crop corn could have yields trimmed, however, because of late planting linked to the slow soybean harvest, Agroconsult said.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by David Goodman ) ((gus.trompiz@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 49 49 52 18; Reuters Messaging: gus.trompiz.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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