GRAINS-Soybeans fall as U.S. harvest gathers pace
* Soybeans fall on harvest pressure, rains in Brazil
* Corn creeps higher but remains on defensive
* U.S. wheat eases as the dollar strengthens
(Adds quotes, updates prices)
LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Soybean prices fell slightly on Wednesday as dry weather helped accelerate the U.S. harvest, speeding up amid reports of better-than-expected yields.
Corn edged up, regaining some ground after falling more than 1.5 percent on Tuesday, while U.S. wheat prices eased slightly, weakened partly by a stronger dollar.
Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans fell 0.3 percent to $12.84-3/4 a bushel by 1212 GMT.
"Prices are down as the harvest pace picks up," said Vanessa Tan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore. "Right now it is warm and dry and that will allow the farmers to accelerate their harvest."
Dry weather this week will speed harvesting of the U.S. corn and soybean crops, and only minor showers are expected by the weekend and next week, an agricultural meteorologist said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Agriculture Department did not provide an update on harvest activity on Monday due to the partial shutdown of the federal government, but analysts estimated that farmers had cut 20 percent of their soybean crop.
Traders said the harvest was generating reports of better-than-expected yields, easing concerns of potential heat damage from recent unfavourable U.S. weather.
Favourable rains this week in Brazil's top soy growing state, Mato Grosso, had added to the downward pressure on prices. The rains could help speed up plantings which were behind schedule after a dry September.
CORN CREEPS UP
CBOT corn futures rose with December up a modest 0.11 percent at $4.42-1/4 a bushel. The contract closed down 1.7 percent in the previous session.
"The trade is guessing the U.S. harvest is currently 20 to 25 percent complete, however with the USDA shut there is no way of confirming these guesses," analyst Luke Mathews of Commonwealth Bank of Australia said.
"Normal harvest completion by the first week of October is 35 to 40 percent," he added.
CBOT wheat prices were slightly lower with December off 0.2 percent at $6.92 a bushel although November milling wheat in Paris rose 0.5 percent to 197.25 euros a tonne.
Dealers said the divergence in trends reflected a stronger dollar versus the euro.
"It's really a case of pricing in the exchange rate," one futures dealer said.
(Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris; editing by Keiron Henderson)