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GRAINS-Brazilian rains push U.S. corn, soybean futures higher

(Updates with closing prices)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures rose on Wednesday as storms in major production areas of Brazil disrupted fieldwork, threatening to slow export shipments from one of the world's major suppliers, traders said.

"Very heavy rains remain in the forecast for Brazil's northern soybean belt, where farmers are trying to harvest this year's soybean crop so that they can turn around and plant the safrinha (second) corn crop," Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at brokerage StoneX, said in a note to clients.

Both corn and soybeans failed to break through the multi-week highs hit on Tuesday, as activity on the export market has been quiet this week even with Chinese buyers back after Lunar New Year celebrations.

The wheat market also was strong, with the most-active Chicago Board of Trade May soft red winter wheat contract rising 2.3% to a five-week high on a technical bounce.

"Wheat being beaten down yesterday did not make too much sense," said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

Signs of good export demand as well as lingering concerns about production shortfalls following cold snaps in the Black Sea region and the U.S. Plains added support to wheat.

CBOT May wheat settled up 15-1/4 cents at $6.85-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT May soybeans were 17-1/4 cents higher at $14.25-3/4 a bushel and CBOT May corn was 4-1/2 cents higher at $5.57 a bushel.

The rain in Brazil limited the amount of soybeans available.

"There are some short-term supply constraints," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

Strength in oilseeds around the globe and gains in the crude oil market bolstered soybean futures. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by David Clarke, Steve Orlofsky and Paul Simao)

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