October 8, 2018 / 4:53 PM / 13 days ago

GRAINS-Wheat sinks on technical selling, stronger dollar

    * U.S. dollar strength weighs on grains complex
    * Sluggish demand weighs on wheat amid global competition
    * Corn, soybean harvest delayed by Midwest rains

 (Recasts throughout with U.S. market open, adds quote, updates
prices; changes byline, dateline, previous SINGAPORE/PARIS)
    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures fell around 1
percent on Monday on technical selling and as a stronger dollar
created a headwind for U.S. exports of the grain, which are
already struggling to compete in the global marketplace.
    Corn futures eased on Monday after two straight sessions of
gains while soybeans edged higher amid concerns about harvest
delays and the potential for crop damage in the western Midwest.
    Traders were also squaring positions ahead of Thursday's
monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop supply and
demand report that is expected to show larger U.S. corn and
soybean crops and bigger supplies of corn, soy and wheat.
          
    The U.S. dollar        firmed against a basket of major
currencies, making commodities priced in dollars costlier for
buyers holding other currencies.       
    Chicago Board of Trade December wheat futures       fell
6-1/2 cents to $5.14-1/2 a bushel by 11:31 a.m. CDT (1631 GMT),
touching a one-week low. The contract failed to breach chart
resistance at its 200-day moving average.
    December corn       shed 2 cents to $3.66-1/4 a bushel and
hovered near its 50-day moving average for a fifth straight
session.
    November soybeans       were 1/4 cent higher at $8.69-1/4 a
bushel after earlier touching a 6-1/2-week high.
    Wet weather across key corn and soybean states - including
Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota - stalled the harvesting of both
crops, but the rains have boosted soil moisture for hard red
winter wheat planting in the central and southern U.S. Plains.
The wet pattern is expected to persist through this week.
    "The harvest will eventually get restarted, but the rain is
slowing things down today," said Brian Basting, analyst with
Advance Trading. "And there a little more support today in the
beans because they are more sensitive to the wet weather."
    Due to the Columbus Day federal holiday, the USDA's weekly
harvest progress and crop condition report normally released on
Monday afternoon was delayed by a day.
    Recent rains in parts of eastern Australia and Argentina -
both key Southern Hemisphere grain exporters - added pressure to
wheat, along with stiff export competition from Russia, the
world's biggest shipper.
    Russian grain continued to undercut U.S. wheat in the global
market, although the United States has narrowed the price gap in
recent weeks. Meanwhile, wheat traders have speculated that
tightening Russian supplies could prompt export curbs.
    Russia's Agriculture Ministry said Monday that it would
start selling 1.5 million tonnes of stockpiled grain within two
or three weeks.              

 (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and
Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; editing by Kirsten Donovan and G
Crosse)
  
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