GRAINS-Soy futures ease on outlook for rain to aid South America crops
* Rain forecast in Brazil, Argentina curbs soy prices
* Corn inches higher after recent setbacks
* Wheat touches one-week low at CBOT (Adds start of U.S. trading, changes dateline, pvs PARIS/SINGAPORE)
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures on Friday slumped to their lowest price in more than a week under continued pressure from forecasts for rain in dry South American growing belts, analysts said.
Soybean futures have pulled back about 3% since reaching July highs a week ago on concerns about crop losses due to dryness in southern Brazil and Argentina. Corn futures, meanwhile, have dropped about 4% from a six-month high reached last month.
Corn futures on Friday rebounded after matching their lowest price in more than a week.
"Prices have dipped to levels that represent good value especially if the weather in South America returns to hot and dry after next week's expected rainfall and temperature moderation," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.
The most-active CBOT soybean contract was down 10 cents at $13.67-1/4 a bushel by 11:30 a.m. CST (1730 GMT). It earlier fell to $13.63-3/4, the lowest price since Jan. 4.
"We were looking at a bigger drop in South American soybean production but with the recent weather outlook it might not be as bad as expected earlier," said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.
CBOT corn was up 5-1/2 cents at $5.93 a bushel. The contract earlier matched Thursday's low of $5.85-1/4, which was the lowest price since Jan. 3.
Weather forecasts show parched areas of Argentina, the world's top exporter of processed soy and No. 2 producer of corn, may receive significant rainfall from late this week.
Still, some analysts are cautious about the benefit of rain in Argentina after a heatwave exacerbated dryness linked to the La Nina climate pattern.
"We would use any sharp setbacks to own soybeans with the potential for La Nina bringing drier conditions once the rainfall passes over the drier areas next week," Pfitzenmaier said.
CBOT wheat set a one-week low and was down 3 cents at $7.43-3/4. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Jason Neely)
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