×

GRAINS-Spring wheat takes 2-day gains to 7 pct on weather damage fears

* Minneapolis spring wheat hits new 2-1/2 year highs

* U.S. Plains seen staying mostly dry, limiting relief

* Corn, soybean supported by wheat, uncertain rain outlook

(Updates with European trading) PARIS/SINGAPORE, June 14 (Reuters) - U.S. spring wheat futures prices climbed to a new 2-1/2 year high on Wednesday, bringing their two-day gains to over 7 percent, as the market factored in deteriorating crop conditions in the parched northern Plains and limited prospects of rain. The surge in spring wheat again pushed up Chicago soft wheat futures, the global benchmark for wheat prices, while also underpinning smaller gains for corn and soybeans. Hot, dry weather in the Midwest has also lent specific support to corn and soy, but forecasts calling for some rain this week has tempered worries about crop stress. Spring wheat traded on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) was up 2.7 percent at $6.45 a bushel. This was just off an earlier peak of $6.45-3/4, the highest level for a spot price since Dec. 24, 2014. The most active Chicago Board of Trade wheat contract added 1.2 percent to $4.50-1/4 a bushel. CBOT corn was up 0.5 percent at $3.83 a bushel and CBOT soybeans were 0.5 percent higher at $9.37-1/4 a bushel. "North American spring wheat remains the epicenter of the action," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "Rainfall, recent and expected soon, is only enough to be a balm rather than a cure." The U.S. Department of Agriculture assessed the spring wheat crop condition at 45 percent good-to-excellent as of June 4, down 10 percentage points from a week earlier. Analysts had been expecting a good-to-excellent rating of 53 percent. The poor state of U.S. spring wheat, a high-protein variety, has focused attention on a potential shortfall in protein-rich supplies after disappointing early protein readings from the U.S. hard red winter wheat harvest. High-protein wheat prices being offered from Australia and the United States into Asia are climbing and Australian prices have also been supported by farmers holding back supplies, according to traders. Hot weather in western Europe and dryness in Ukraine were also adding to weather risks in the run-up to summer harvesting in the northern hemisphere. "Weather forecasts in Europe are predicting high temperatures for next week, increasing scalding risks," consultancy Agritel said in a note. "Current climatic conditions in Ukraine don't (...) remove completely the concerns regarding the end of the winter crop cycle." Parts of Australia are also facing dry conditions, although the government on Tuesday slightly raised its forecast for 2017/18 wheat production following rainfall along the east coast. Strength in soybeans was being curbed by competition from bumper South American crops. The National Oilseed Processors Association's May soybean crush was forecast to fall 6 percent below the 2016 level, with U.S. processors slowing their pace amid abundant South American supplies. Investors were also waiting to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve would announce as expected an interest rate rise later on Wednesday, which could turn attention towards macroeconomic issues and exchange rate trends.

Prices at 1136 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2016 Move CBOT wheat 450.25 5.25 1.18 408.00 10.36 CBOT corn 383.00 2.00 0.52 352.00 8.81 CBOT soy 937.25 4.75 0.51 1004.00 -6.65 Paris MAT wheat Sep 171.25 1.50 0.88 168.00 1.93 Paris maize Jun 174.00 0.25 0.14 166.00 4.82 Paris rape Aug 360.00 0.50 0.14 408.50 -11.87 WTI crude oil 46.08 -0.38 -0.82 53.72 -14.22 Euro/dlr 1.12 0.00 -0.10

Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Joseph Radford, Greg Mahlich)