GRAINS-Wheat nears 3-week low on weak export demand; soy, corn sag

(Recasts; updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline from previous PARIS/SINGAPORE) CHICAGO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures fell to a near three-week low on Monday on plentiful global inventories and weak demand for U.S. supplies, analysts said. Soybeans turned down after touching a two-week high and corn drifted lower on a day when U.S. government offices, including the Department of Agriculture, were closed for the Columbus Day holiday. As of 12:55 p.m. CDT (1755 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December wheat was down 7 cents at $4.36-1/2 per bushel after hitting $4.36, the contract's lowest since Sept. 19. Wheat sagged as export business remained slow. "We have got to see demand pick up and we just haven't seen that," said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing. "The Russian wheat crop is big and they certainly have a competitive advantage. And we don't seem to be able to get any business done." Additional pressure stemmed from improving soil moisture in U.S. winter wheat regions. Rains crossed the southern U.S. Plains last week and showers were forecast in the Midwest this week. Those storms should slow the harvest of fall crops, a factor that lent underlying support to soybeans and corn. The USDA was scheduled to release its weekly crop progress report on Tuesday, a day later than usual due to Monday's holiday. November soybeans were down 3-1/4 cents at $9.69 per bushel, turning lower after encountering chart resistance near the contract's 200-day moving average. December corn was down 3/4 cent at $3.49-1/4 a bushel. Traders were reluctant to take on big new positions ahead of the USDA's monthly supply/demand reports on Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Reuters expect the government to raise its estimates of U.S. corn and soybean yield and production in those reports.

Worries about dry conditions in parts of Brazil, the world's No. 2 soybean grower after the United States, helped underpin soy futures. "Weather forecasters continue to expect soybean regions in Brazil's Mato Grosso state to see no material gains in soil moisture for another week or so," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Soybean planting in Brazil was 5.6 percent complete as of Friday, consultancy Safras & Mercado said, down from 10.4 percent at this time last year, as dry weather for most of September delayed seeding.

CBOT prices as of 12:54 p.m. CDT (1754 GMT):

Net Pct Volume

Last change change

CBOT wheat WZ7 436.25 -7.25 -1.6 45976 CBOT corn CZ7 349.00 -1.00 -0.3 78180 CBOT soybeans SX7 968.75 -3.50 -0.4 86656 CBOT soymeal SMZ7 316.10 -3.10 -1.0 38689 CBOT soyoil BOZ7 33.24 0.29 0.9 34184

NOTE: CBOT December wheat, December corn and November soybeans shown in cents per bushel, December soymeal in dollars per short ton and December soyoil in cents per lb.

(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton and Bill Trott)