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GRAINS-Corn sees pause after 7-month high as weather, trade risks weighed
* Corn supported by export demand, Argentine drought damage
* Soybeans also steady as Argentine rain seen too late
* Worries over global trade tensions curb gains
(Updates with European trading, changes)
By Gus Trompiz and Colin Packham
PARIS/SYDNEY, March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures held close to a
seven-month high on Wednesday as investors weighed up brisk export demand and
drought losses to Argentine crops against global trade tensions.
Soybeans edged up as the oilseed market remained focused on persisting
drought in Argentina, while wheat ticked higher with similar concerns about
parched U.S. wheat belts.
The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade inched up
0.2 percent to $3.92-1/2 a bushel by 1402 GMT, close to Tuesday's high of
$3.95-1/4, a level not reached since July.
CBOT wheat futures were up 0.4 percent at $4.88-1/2 a bushel, while
soybeans added 0.3 percent to $10.51-3/4 a bushel.
Severe drought in Argentina, which has led forecasters to slash their
estimates for the country's upcoming corn and soybean harvests, continued to be
the focus of grain markets, and crop experts say rain expected in the week ahead
could be too late.
"Rains will offer some minor relief to late-maturing corn/soy (particularly
east Argentina), but (with) limited yield recovery overall," the Commodity
Weather Group said in a note.
U.S. corn futures have also been supported by healthy export sales: South
Korean importers bought over 1 million tonnes of corn in the past week, much of
it from the United States, traders said.
But export sentiment was tempered by concern over international trade
tensions, fuelled by U.S. President Donald Trump's firing on Tuesday of
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, widely seen as a moderate.
"Market sentiment has soured amid fears of potential widening of U.S.
tariffs and the departure of Tillerson," said one Melbourne-based grains trader.
Shares were under pressure for a second day on Wednesday after Trump's
threat to slap $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports also worried investors,
although the dollar steadied after a one-week low.
Prices at 1402 GMT
Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct
Move 2017 Move
CBOT wheat 488.50 2.00 0.41 427.00 14.40
CBOT corn 392.50 0.75 0.19 350.75 11.90
CBOT soy 1051.75 3.00 0.29 961.75 9.36
Paris wheat May 164.50 0.50 0.30 162.50 1.23
Paris maize Jun 165.75 1.00 0.61 163.50 1.38
Paris rape May 348.00 1.25 0.36 352.75 -1.35
WTI crude oil 60.94 0.23 0.38 60.42 0.86
Euro/dlr 1.24 0.00 -0.29
Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel,
Paris futures in euros per tonne
(Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by
Sunil Nair and Dasha Afanasieva)
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