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GRAINS-Soybean prices near lowest since early Oct, S.America weather weighs

SINGAPORE, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures ticked down on Tuesday, with the market trading near its lowest in almost 11 weeks as forecasts of rains in Argentina's drought-hit oilseed growing areas weighed on prices. Wheat rose for a second session on concerns over a lack of snow cover in the U.S. Plains leaving the crop vulnerable to cold temperatures.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Rains that fell on Argentina's main farm belt over the weekend brought relief to parched soybean and corn-growing land, meteorologists said on Monday, allowing the planting of crops to resume in most of the affected areas.

* Argentina is the world's top exporter of soymeal used in livestock feed and the No. 3 corn supplier.

* Brazilian farmers are expected to produce 114.57 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017/18 crop cycle, consultancy Safras & Mercado said on Monday. The figure represents a slight downward adjustment from an October estimate of 114.7 million tonnes, although it would still be an all-time high for Brazil.

* Speculation that the U.S. Department of Agriculture may raise its U.S. corn production estimate next month weighed on prices after private analytics firm Informa Economics lifted its estimate on Friday.

* Reviewing the most recent U.S. harvest, the firm put the 2017 corn yield at 176.6 bushels per acre, above the USDA's last estimate of 175.4.

* For wheat, a combination of delays to autumn planting and dry conditions in the southern U.S. Plains have left the hard red winter crop vulnerable to freeze damage, crop experts said, which could further tighten supplies of high-protein wheat.

* Russian wheat export prices fell last week as competition with Romanian wheat was intensified by the latest Egyptian purchase, analysts said on Monday.

* Egypt, the world's largest wheat importer and the biggest buyer of Russian wheat, bought 295,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat in a state tender on Dec. 12.

* In Europe, the absence of damaging low temperatures across most of the region has limited frost kill to grain crops so far this season but it has also left them fragile to a cold spell, the European Union's crop monitor said on Monday.

* Commodity funds were net sellers of Chicago Board of Trade soybean, corn, soymeal and soyoil contracts on Monday, traders said.

MARKET NEWS

* Asian stocks advanced on Tuesday after a record-setting session on Wall Street on bets that U.S. lawmakers would pass a major tax overhaul, while the dollar sagged as traders were less sanguine about the bill's economic impact.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0900 Germany Ifo business climate Dec 1000 Euro zone Labour costs Q3 1330 U.S. Current account Q3 1330 U.S. Housing starts Nov 1330 U.S. Building permits Nov

Grains prices at 0115 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 420.75 0.25 +0.06% +0.60% 432.80 68 CBOT corn 346.75 -0.25 -0.07% -0.22% 353.61 63 CBOT soy 961.00 -0.50 -0.05% -0.65% 985.49 26 CBOT rice 11.72 $0.01 +0.09% +0.13% $12.02 37 WTI crude 57.22 $0.06 +0.10% -0.14% $57.07 51

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.178 $0.000 -0.02% +0.23% USD/AUD 0.7663 0.000 +0.03% +0.25%

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

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)