GRAINS-Corn slumps on harvest pressure, soy slips on rain relief
* Corn hits 3-week low, soybeans touch 2-week low
* Soybeans pressured by more rain in U.S. Midwest forecast
* Harvest pressure weighs on corn amid reports of big yields
(Recasts with corn hits 3-week low, updates prices, quotes; changes dateline pvs PARIS/SYDNEY) CHICAGO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures fell for a second straight session on Thursday and corn fell for a third day as a rainier Midwest weather forecast eased some concerns about eroding yield prospects. Corn hit the lowest level in nearly three weeks as the harvest of a likely record-large U.S. crop accelerated and amid scattered reports of stronger-than-anticipated yields. Soybeans touched a two-week low. "The forecast for Sunday through Wednesday is for beneficial rains from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa to the Great Lakes region and that is cooling the market for now," said Sterling Smith, futures specialist for Citigroup. "This is about the last chance we have for rain that will do any good, so next week's forecast is pretty important." The rains would benefit soybeans more than corn since the corn crop is nearly mature while soybeans are still forming beans, he said. Still, uncertainty about how much rain the driest areas of the Midwest would receive and nervousness about the extent of damage already done, limited losses in soybeans. Spotty rains were expected until the weekend, followed by scattered showers in the central and northwestern Midwest, said Commodity Weather Group meteorologist Joel Widenor. "Relief to the most notable dry areas in Iowa and Illinois should remain limited, but the Dakotas and central Minnesota will see some improvement," he said. There is a better chance for light rains next week but still about 40 percent of the Midwest soybean areas remain dry. Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans edged down 2-3/4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $13.49-3/4 a bushel by 10:29 a.m. CDT (1529 GMT) after earlier sinking to $13.35, the lowest since Aug. 23. Soybeans rose slightly in Asian trading hours after the prior day's drop drew some buyers in, but news that China had sold more than 80 percent of the soybeans on offer at an auction of state reserves helped curb that rebound. Industry officials, meanwhile, said that Chinese soybean imports are likely to fall in September-October as China grapples with an oversupply following record purchases in recent months and the state reserves sale. CBOT December corn fell 11 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $4.58-1/2 per bushel, the lowest for the contract since Aug 15. The contract has shed nearly 5 percent in three days of losses. Commodity brokerage INTL FCStone late on Wednesday forecast the U.S. corn crop at 13.942 billion bushels, with an average yield of 156.4 bushels per acre, above the U.S. Agriculture Department's latest projection. Wheat futures followed corn and soybeans lower, additionally pressured by sluggish export demand and abundant global supplies. CBOT December wheat fell 8-1/2 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $6.37-3/4 a bushel, just above the contract low of $6.35-1/2 posted three weeks ago. It was the contracts seventh straight daily decline.
Prices at 10:33 a.m. CDT (1533 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 485.50 -8.50 -1.7% -30.5% CBOT soy 1400.00 2.25 0.2% -1.3% CBOT meal 472.30 3.70 0.8% 12.3% CBOT soyoil 43.14 -0.42 -1.0% -12.2% CBOT wheat 625.00 -9.25 -1.5% -19.7% CBOT rice 1566.00 -2.50 -0.2% 5.4% EU wheat 186.75 -1.00 -0.5% -25.4% US crude 108.36 1.13 1.1% 18.0% Dow Jones 14,942 11 0.1% 14.0% Gold 1367.56 -23.28 -1.7% -18.3% Euro/dollar 1.3114 -0.0093 -0.7% -0.6% Dollar Index 82.6400 0.4710 0.6% 3.6% Baltic Freight 1279 64 5.3% 83.0%
(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris, Colin Packham in Sydney and Sam Nelson in Chicago; Editing by Grant McCool)