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GRAINS-Wheat hovers near contract lows on favourable U.S. weather

* CBOT wheat sees pause after Thursday slide
* Benign weather for U.S. wheat offset Europe concerns
* Corn also little changed as planting progress eyed
* Soybeans edge higher

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline)
By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral
PARIS/SINGAPORE, April 21 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat was little changed on
Friday, hovering close to contract lows after coming under pressure a favourable
weather outlook for major U.S. wheat belts.
Corn steadied in line with wheat after also falling on Thursday. Investors
were continuing to assess planting progress after a rain-delayed start to field
work in the U.S. Midwest, although large global supplies remained a curb on
prices.
Soybeans ticked higher, recouping the previous session's small decline, but
the oilseed also faced supply pressure as big South American harvest were set to
squeeze U.S. exports.
Chicago Board of Trade July wheat was up a quarter of a cent at $4.22
a bushel by 1058 GMT. It earlier slipped to $4.20-1/4, just above a contract low
of $4.20 hit in December.
Kansas July wheat ticked up three-quarters of a cent to $4.16-1/4
after slipping to a contract low of $4.14-1/2 earlier in the session.
The wheat market on Thursday suffered its biggest daily loss this year, with
Chicago soft wheat and Kansas hard wheat each falling more than 3 percent, as
investors absorbed weather forecasts for the U.S. Plains and Midwest that were
largely favourable for winter wheat crops nearing maturity.
"The U.S. winter wheat crop is looking really good. Weather concerns had
been overplayed earlier," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National
Australia Bank.
"We are looking at another great year for wheat supplies even though U.S.
acreage is down. Yields are looking really good."
Improving prospects for the upcoming U.S. harvest have kept the focus on
ample global supplies and offset concerns about dryness in France and other
parts of western Europe.
Farming agency FranceAgriMer on Friday said its rating of French soft wheat
fell to 85 percent good/excellent for the week to April 17, down from 89 percent
and the second successive weekly decline.
Traders are also monitoring the possible impact of a cold spell across
Europe this week, notably on rapeseed, although this was seen as less of a risk
than developing drought.
CBOT July corn was unchanged on the day at $3.64-1/4 a bushel while July
soybeans edged up 0.3 percent to $9.49-1/2 a bushel.
U.S. grain futures were also pressured by weekly export figures on Thursday
that came in below or at the low end of trade expectations.

"Weekly export numbers were disappointing on all products," consultancy
Agritel said in a note. "The decline was limited on corn (however) as traders
remain cautious with planting delays due to rains.
Grain markets will also be watching official Canadian planting estimates
later on Friday, which are expected to show a drop in wheat area and expansion
for oilseed canola.

Prices at 1058 GMT
Last Change Pct End 2016 Ytd Pct
Move Move
CBOT wheat 422.00 0.25 0.06 408.00 3.43
CBOT corn 364.25 0.00 0.00 352.00 3.48
CBOT soy 949.50 2.75 0.29 1004.00 -5.43
Paris MAT wheat May 163.00 -0.25 -0.15 168.00 -2.98
Paris maize Jun 173.00 -1.00 -0.57 166.00 4.22
Paris rape May 398.75 1.00 0.25 408.50 -2.39
WTI crude oil 50.73 0.02 0.04 53.72 -5.57
Euro/dlr 1.07 0.00 -0.14
Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris
futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by
Christian Schmollinger and David Evans)

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