GRAINS-Corn eases as USDA surprise fades, wheat stuck near 3-year low
* Ample corn supply is back in focus after rally on USDA data
* Wheat rebound stalls, also pressured by large supply
* Soybeans at 2-week high, supported by brisk Chinese buying
(Updates prices, comments with European trading) PARIS/SINGAPORE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures edged lower on Tuesday to halt a two-day rally sparked by lower-than-expected U.S. government supply estimates as attention turned back to a record U.S. crop. U.S. wheat was little changed, hovering within sight of a 3-1/2 year low, as an export-fuelled rebound on Monday stalled in the face of plentiful global supplies. Soybeans rose slightly to set a new two-week high, bolstered by strong Chinese buying. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) stirred up the corn market by unexpectedly cutting its yield estimate for the 2013 U.S. harvest, while also putting ending stocks below the consensus of trade estimates. But after a 5 percent surge in corn futures on Friday and a slight rise on Monday, the market was putting the USDA numbers in the context of a record-large U.S. crop and hefty world supply, analysts said. "The bigger picture of a large year-on-year increase in U.S. corn supplies still remains intact, so it is difficult to get overly excited about corn prices in the medium term," said Luke Mathews, commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The market will still look at testing $4 a bushel at some stage over the next six months or so." Spot corn futures hit its lowest level in more than three years at $4.06-1/4 on Friday before the USDA estimates as traders anticipated a upward revision to U.S. supply. At 1246 GMT on Tuesday, Chicago Board of Trade March corn was down 0.4 percent at $4.32-3/4 a bushel. Analysts stressed that corn prices remained attractive versus soybeans, which could mean more big plantings this year. "In our view, reality is that stocks are still very comfortable and any rally through the critical February-average period (for prices) would lead the U.S. farmer to plant another enormous corn crop in 2014," Macquarie analysts said in a note. Front-month March wheat was unchanged on the day at $5.73 a bushel, not far from a three-and-half year low of $5.60-1/2 a bushel hit on Friday. A first purchase of U.S. wheat in 2013/14 by Egypt's state buyer over the weekend helped prices bounce off a 3-1/2 low hit on Friday when the USDA put U.S. and global stocks above expectations. CBOT March soybeans was up 0.3 percent at $12.98 a bushel, adding to a sharp rise on Monday. It earlier hit a two-week high of $12.99 before coming up against resistance at the $13 threshold. The USDA said on Monday that U.S. export inspections for soybeans were 59.381 million bushels, beating forecasts for 45 million to 50 million. It also said that private exporters reported the sale of 140,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations.
* Prices as of 1146 GMT
Product Last Change Pct Move CBOT wheat 573.50 0.00 +0.00 CBOT corn 432.75 -1.75 -0.40 CBOT soy 1327.00 0.25 +0.02 Paris wheat 194.75 -0.25 -0.13 Paris maize 173.75 0.00 +0.00 Paris rape 362.75 2.50 +0.69 WTI crude oil 91.93 0.13 +0.14 Euro/dlr 1.37 +0.07
* CBOT futures prices are in cents per bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne, WTI crude oil in dollars per barrel.
(Editing by Richard Pullin and Pravin Char)