×

GRAINS-Soybeans steady after slide on improving crop outlook

* Soybeans consolidates above near one-month low

* Gains checked by higher crop ratings, milder weather

* Corn and wheat also higher after 1-month lows

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SYDNEY, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans edged higher on Wednesday, consolidating above a day-earlier one-month low as signs of improving conditions for U.S. crops continued to keep prices in check. Corn and wheat were higher after also touching one-month lows in the previous session, with technical floors on price charts and persisting weakness in the dollar lending some support.

The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade had added 0.6 percent to $9.77-1/2 a bushel by 1043 GMT. They earlier slipped to $9.70-1/2 but held above Tuesday's low of $9.69-3/4, a level not previously touched since July 3. The contract had ended Tuesday's session down 3.5 percent after an unexpected improvement in weekly U.S. crop ratings for soybeans and weather forecasts calling for moderate temperatures and some rainfall in growing regions eased harvest concerns.

The more favorable crop prospects, after dry, hot spells in recent weeks, were keeping a lid on prices. "Soybean crops now seem less at peril from hot summer weather," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "Weather forecasters have increased rainfall in their forecasts for the first half of August. INTL FCStone projected U.S. 2017 soybean production at 4.235 billion bushels, with an average yield of 47.7 bushels per acre (bpa). This was close to the USDA's current forecast for a 4.260 billion bushel crop with a yield of 48.0 bushels per acre (bpa).

The most active CBOT corn futures climbed 0.9 percent to $3.79-3/4 a bushel, having closed down 2.1 percent in the previous session when they touched their lowest since June 30 at $3.75-3/4. INTL FCStone forecast this year's corn harvest at 13.590 billion bushels, with an average yield of 162.8 bpa. That was well below the USDA's most recent forecast for a corn crop of 14.255 billion bushels, with a yield of 170.4 bpa, and other market players also see the crop coming in below the current USDA outlook. The most active CBOT wheat futures were up 1.0 percent at $4.66 a bushel after closing down 2.8 percent on Tuesday, when prices marked their lowest since June 22 at $4.60-1/2. Extremely poor conditions for U.S. spring wheat were seen as largely priced in, with harvesting of the drought-hit crop now under way, while rising expectations for production in rival exporter Russia were tempering supply concerns. Russian agriculture consultancy IKAR on Tuesday increased its estimate for this year's wheat production in Russia to a record 74-77 million tonne range. "If Russia were indeed to harvest a crop at the upper edge of IKAR's estimate, this would offset the weather-related crop shortfalls in the U.S.," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

Prices at 1043 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2016 Move CBOT wheat 466.00 4.75 1.03 408.00 14.22 CBOT corn 379.75 3.25 0.86 352.00 7.88 CBOT soy 977.50 5.75 0.59 1004.00 -2.64 Paris wheat Dec 170.75 -0.50 -0.29 175.00 -2.43 Paris maize Nov 165.00 0.00 0.00 170.00 -2.94 Paris rape Nov 367.25 1.00 0.27 383.25 -4.17 WTI crude oil 49.18 0.02 0.04 53.72 -8.45 Euro/dlr 1.18 0.00 0.29

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

(Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Joseph Radford and Pritha Sarkar)