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GRAINS-Corn edges higher, holds near 3-week high on planting delays

SYDNEY, May 23 (Reuters) - U.S. corn extended gains into a third consecutive session on Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged the pace of planting behind market expectations, pushing prices towards a three-week high.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade rose 0.1 percent to $3.75-1/2 a bushel, having gained 0.7 percent in the previous session when prices hit a high of $3.77-1/2 a bushel - the highest since May 2.

* The most active soybean futures little changed at $9.57 a bushel, having firmed 0.4 percent on Tuesday.

* The most active wheat futures rose 0.1 percent to $4.34-3/4 a bushel, having closed down 0.2 percent on Tuesday.

* U.S. corn planting was seen at 84 percent complete, slightly behind market expectations.

* U.S. soybean planting was pegged at 53 percent complete, slightly ahead of market forecasts.

* Forecasts called for unfavorably wet weather in the central Plains hard red wheat zone in the next two weeks, but more limited rain prospects in the southern Plains could help harvesting.

MARKET NEWS

* The euro hovered near a six-month high against the dollar on Tuesday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the currency was "too weak," while the pound sagged against the yen after a blast at a concert in Britain's city of Manchester killed at least 19 people.

* Oil prices were firm on Tuesday on the expectation that an OPEC-led production cut would be extended to next March, but analysts said economic slowdown was clouding the mid-term outlook for crude markets.

* U.S. stocks rose on Monday, boosted by technology shares and by defense companies, which gained after the United States and Saudi Arabia signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0600 Germany Detailed GDP Q1 0645 France Business climate May 0700 France Markit manufacturing PMI flash May 0730 Germany Markit manufacturing PMI flash May 0800 Germany Ifo business climate May 0800 Euro zone Markit manufacturing PMI flash May 1345 U.S. Markit manufacturing PMI flash May 1400 U.S. New home sales Apr

Grains prices at 0111 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 434.75 0.50 +0.12% -0.11% 435.00 59 CBOT corn 375.50 0.50 +0.13% +0.81% 370.18 64 CBOT soy 957.00 0.50 +0.05% +0.42% 963.63 48 CBOT rice 11.01 -$0.04 -0.41% +1.66% $10.22 75 WTI crude 51.13 $0.00 +0.00% +1.59% $49.38 75

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.124 $0.000 +0.03% +0.31% USD/AUD 0.7468 -0.001 -0.09% +0.12%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)