February 9, 2018 / 7:20 PM / a year ago

GRAINS-Wheat, corn lower in pause after multi-month highs

 (Recasts, updates prices, adds quotes; changes byline,
dateline, previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)
    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat and corn futures fell
on Friday, retreating from multi-month highs established a day
earlier as traders took profits and focused on prospects for
better weather in the drought-hit U.S. Plains wheat belt.
    Soybeans sagged on much-needed rains in Argentina's crop
belt and worries about U.S. soybean export demand.
    Broad declines in commodities added to bearish sentiment.
The 19-market Thomson Reuters CoreCommodity Index
was down 2.1 percent as U.S. crude oil fell on renewed
concerns about rising crude supplies.
    As of 1:03 p.m. CST (1903 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade March
wheat was down 7-1/4 cents at $4.49 per bushel.
    CBOT March corn was down 3 cents at $3.62-3/4 a
bushel while March soybeans were down 3 cents at $9.84-3/4
a bushel.
    "Wheat leads the way lower in the grains, based on improved
moisture prospects for the Southern Plains in the six-to-10-day
period. A drought-breaker is not expected, but it is moisture
nonetheless," INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan
Suderman said in a note to clients.
    Worries about dry conditions in major U.S. winter wheat
states such as Kansas and Oklahoma triggered a short-covering
rally this month in K.C. hard red winter wheat futures and CBOT
wheat as well. 
    K.C. March HRW wheat reached $4.84-1/2 a bushel on
Thursday, its highest since mid-August, before turning lower. 
    The run-up in prices appeared likely to curb export demand
for U.S. wheat, a factor underscored when the U.S. Department of
Agriculture on Thursday lowered its U.S. wheat export forecast
for the 2017/18 marketing year.
    CBOT March corn fell a day after reaching a
three-month peak at $3.65-1/2 a bushel. Recent strength in corn
tied to improved export demand has sparked a pick-up in U.S.
farmer selling, traders said.
    Still, for the week, front-month CBOT corn and wheat futures
were on track to post slight gains for the week. 
    Soybeans were lower but the spot March contract stayed
inside of Thursday's trading range. Welcome rains were falling
in parts of Argentina's crop belt.
    "These showers should lead to only minor improvements in
soil moisture across central Argentina, but will usher in much
cooler weather, reducing heat stress," Radiant Solutions said in
a daily weather note.
    "Dry weather will return to the region next week, but
another round of showers is possible by next weekend," the note
    Trade were also digesting Friday's monthly USDA report in
which the government raised its forecast of U.S. 2017/18 soybean
ending stocks, reflecting a slower-than-expected pace of
    CBOT prices as of 12:59 p.m. CST (1859 GMT):
                         Last     Net     Pct  Volume
                               change  change  
 CBOT wheat      WH8   449.00   -7.25    -1.6   94355
 CBOT corn       CH8   362.50   -3.25    -0.9  191709
 CBOT soybeans   SH8   984.00   -3.75    -0.4  120582
 CBOT soymeal    SMH8  342.70    1.00     0.3   75113
 CBOT soyoil     BOH8   32.05   -0.16    -0.5   67414
    NOTE: CBOT March wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per
bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per

 (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus
Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Catherine Evans and James
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