GRAINS-Soy near 3-week top on U.S. weather, corn dips after rally
* November soy little changed, holds near 3-wk high
* December corn dips half a pct after 3.7 pct rally in previous session
* Concerns over hot weather underpin corn, soybeans
(Adds analyst's quotes, updates prices) SINGAPORE, Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures were little changed on Friday, hovering around their highest in three weeks as forecasts for hot and dry weather in parts of the U.S. crop belt triggered concerns over supplies. Corn ticked lower after climbing to a two-week high while wheat eased following two consecutive sessions of gains. Warmer and drier weather in the U.S. Midwest through the end of August will draw down soil moisture levels, potentially reducing crop yields. However, the warmer temperatures will also boost corn and soybean growth and reduce the threat of harm from an early frost. "The weather is supporting prices as memories of last year's drought are still lingering around," said Joyce Liu, an investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore. "This year the dry weather is coming a bit later than last year but it could impact crops as we are still in the crucial yield-determining stage for corn and soybeans due to late planting." Importers have been expecting record U.S. corn production this year to ease three years of tight global supplies. U.S. corn and soybean crops were ravaged last year by the worst drought across the U.S. grain belt in more than 50 years. Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans fell half a cent to $12.65 a bushel by 0223 GMT, while December corn eased 0.5 percent to $4.69-3/4 a bushel. December corn is up 3.6 percent this week, recovering from four consecutive weeks of declines and on track for its biggest weekly gain since early July. November soybeans have jumped nearly 7 percent, the highest weekly gain for the contract. On Thursday, strong export sales of both commodities and a government report that showed farmers planted less corn and soybeans this season than expected ignited a rally and triggered short-covering by commodity funds, which have built up bearish bets in recent weeks. "The market is expecting a record-large U.S. corn crop but we might not get it because such a large area has been left unplanted," said Liu. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farm Service Administration said an intended 3.4 million acres of corn were not planted, 1.6 million acres of soybeans and 1.7 million acres of wheat. The USDA said farmers were unable to plant land that had been earmarked for cropland due to excessive wet weather this planting season. The USDA pegged net U.S. soybean export sales last week at nearly 1.9 million tonnes, the highest weekly tally in 18 months. Corn export sales were well above expectations. Monthly soybean processing data released by the National Oilseed Processors Association attracted little market reaction as the August crush of 116.3 million bushels was largely in line with trade expectations. Argentina's 2012/13 corn crop is 98.8 percent harvested with an average national yield of 7.27 tonnes per hectare, 0.53 tonnes above the average recorded over the previous 12 seasons, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday.
Commodity funds bought a net 22,000 CBOT corn contracts on Thursday, trade sources said. They bought 4,000 wheat and bought 10,000 soybeans. Wheat futures, which were supported by spillover strength from corn and soybeans prices on Thursday, ticked lower. Spot-month wheat fell 0.2 percent to $6.36 a bushel.
Prices at 0223 GMT
Contract Last Change Pct chg MA 30 RSI CBOT corn 469.75 -2.50 -0.53% 757.57 42 CBOT soy 1265.00 -0.50 -0.04% 1572.71 28 CBOT rice $15.46 $0.06 +0.39% $15.48 53 WTI crude $107.19 -$0.14 -0.13% $89.55 62
Euro/dlr $1.335 $0.106 USD/AUD 0.915 -0.141
Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)