GRAINS-U.S. wheat prices ease as crop outlooks improve
* Improved weather outlook in Argentina, Black Sea
* Corn under pressure as U.S. crop ratings raised
* U.S. soy harvest 63 pct complete, corn 39 pct-USDA
(Adds details, quotes)
LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade fell on Tuesday with an improving outlook for the harvest in Argentina and sowings in the Black Sea region helping to erode recent gains.
Corn prices eased slightly with improving crop conditions in the United States helping to offset concerns over the slow pace of harvest while soybean futures were also lower.
"Wheat had gone up quite significantly because of unfavourable weather conditions with excessive rains in the Black Sea region but now we are hearing reports of warmer conditions which will help the final phase of planting," said Vyanne Lai, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.
"There have been doubts about Argentina's production but it looks like rains will be helpful for the crop."
Chicago Board Of Trade front-month wheat fell 0.5 percent to $6.96-1/2 a bushel by 1113 GMT. The market climbed to $7.11-1/4 on Monday, the highest since early June.
Rains reached Argentina's wheat belt over the weekend, providing much-needed moisture for plants two months ahead of harvest, a local meteorologist said on Monday.
Dealers also noted Argentina may have overstated damage to this year's wheat crop.
Argentina will issue a new 2013/14 wheat harvest estimate in the days ahead, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry said on Monday, after publishing an erroneous forecast of 8.8 million tonnes last week.
Analysts Agritel said it expected the estimate to be upwardly revised, noting its own forecast was 10.1 million.
Winter sowing has resumed on farms in Ukraine and Russia in a spell of dry weather, analysts and officials said last week, easing fears of a drastic drop in the winter grain crop in 2014.
"A large part of crops (in Ukraine) have recovered from delay and weather forecast for the next two weeks show no frost risk. Crops should have good conditions to germinate," Agritel said in a daily update.
"Crop delay in Russia is more alarming; however, harvest is progressing quickly."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its weekly crop progress report said 79 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was planted by Sunday, matching the five-year average. Fifty-three percent of the crop had emerged from the ground, near the five-year average of 54 percent. 1/8UD:nL1N0IB1ZS 3/8
November milling wheat in Paris rose a marginal 0.1 percent to 205.00 euros a tonne.
LAGGING CORN HARVEST
The crop progress report, the USDA's first since a government shutdown began on Oct. 1, showed the U.S. corn harvest was 39 percent finished, lagging the five-year average of 53 percent. The soybean harvest was 63 percent complete by Sunday, behind the five-year average of 69 percent.
"The corn harvest is lagging particularly far behind in northern states such as Minnesota, where only 19 percent of the crop has been harvested. If the crop were to be hit by frost, this could reduce the harvest," Commerzbank said.
"This fear is somewhat allayed by the fact that 60 percent of U.S. corn plants are currently in good or excellent condition, which is a five percentage point improvement as compared with the last figures published at the end of September."
CBOT corn prices were slightly lower with December off 0.2 percent at $4.43-1/4 a bushel while November soybeans fell 0.7 percent to $12.94-1/4 a bushel.
Freezing temperatures, light showers and light snow will cause some minor slowdowns in harvesting and only minimal harm to the U.S. corn and soybean crops this week, an agricultural meteorologist said.
Global Weather Monitoring said harvest weather, though not perfect, would not be bad overall this week.
(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Jason Neely)