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GRAINS-Corn hits 11-day low, soy falls on Argentine rains

Michael Hogan and Colin Packham
Monday, 30 Dec 2013 | 7:06 AM ET

* Rains across Argentina ease drought stress on crops

* USDA corn export figures put a brake on losses

* Wheat falls, gives back some gains from prior session

(Adds comment, continued price weakness in European session) HAMBURG/SYDNEY, Dec 30 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell to an 11-day low on Monday and soybeans also dropped as rains across major exporter Argentina eased drought stress on crops. Wheat slipped under pressure from the weakness in corn, analysts said. "Soybeans and corn are being weakened by forecasts of more rain in Argentina, wheat is drifting down in quiet holiday-season trade," said Arnaud Saulais of Starsupply Commodity Brokers. "There had been concern about dry weather damaging soybean and corn crops in Argentina. With forecasts of more rain in Argentina, this concern will be reduced." Chicago Board of Trade March corn fell 0.53 percent to $4.25-1/4 a bushel by 1145 GMT, a session low and the weakest level since Dec. 19. Corn had firmed 0.29 percent on Friday. Chicago January soybeans fell 0.51 percent to $13.24-3/4 a bushel, having closed up 1 percent on Friday. March wheat lost 0.45 percent to $6.06-1/4 a bushel, having closed 0.5 percent higher in the previous session. Argentina, the world's third-largest exporter of corn and soybeans, has been suffering prolonged hot, dry weather that traders fear could damage crops and has supported global prices. Weekend rain and forecasts of more wet weather have improved the country's crop outlook. "Soybeans and corn both rallied on Friday and with the rains in Argentina coming at an important time for crop development, the market has corrected fractionally lower," Garry Booth of brokerage ICAP said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts Argentina will harvest 54.5 million tonnes of soybeans in the new 2013/14 crop, up from 49.3 million in the previous season. The Argentine corn crop is seen little changed at 26 million tonnes. "We could see more pressure on the market this week, although this is more likely to hit soybeans than corn," Saulais said. "Corn is already at a relatively low level and there is also some support still coming from the surprisingly good U.S. corn export figures announced on Friday." Corn and soybeans rallied on Friday following the release of the USDA's latest export sales figures, which showed better-than-expected weekly sales. The USDA pegged net sales of corn for the 2013/14 marketing year at nearly 1.5 million tonnes, far exceeding trade estimates, while soybean exports of more than 720,000 tonnes also topped expectations.

Corn remained under background weakness from concern China is rejecting imports that contain a genetically modified corn strain not yet approved by Chinese authorities.

* Prices at 1145 GMT

Product Last Change Pct Move End 2012 Ytd Pct Paris wheat 208.50 -0.25 -0.12 250.25 -16.68 Paris maize 171.75 -0.50 -0.29 237.75 -27.76 Paris rape 365.75 -1.25 -0.34 456.25 -19.84 WTI crude oil 100.23 -0.09 -0.09 91.82 9.16 Euro/dlr 1.3762 * CBOT futures prices are in cents per bushel, Paris futures in euros

per tonne, WTI crude oil in dollars per barrel.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan and Colin Packham; Editing by Dale Hudson)