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GRAINS-Wheat firms, lingers near one-month high as cold weather threatens U.S. crops

U.S. crops@

SYDNEY, Jan 3 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures rose for a second consecutive session on Wednesday as temperatures plunged across a key producing region, stoking fears of potential crop losses, keeping prices near a one-month high.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.4 percent at $4.34-1/4 a bushel by 0133 GMT, having closed up 1.5 percent on Tuesday when prices hit a high of $4.36-1/4 a bushel - the highest since December 5, 2017.

* The most active soybean futures were up 0.2 percent to $9.66-1/4 a bushel, having firmed 0.3 percent on Tuesday.

* The most active corn futures were unchanged at $3.53-1/4 a bushel, having gained 0.7 percent in the previous session.

* Wheat supported as temperatures plunge across the U.S. Plains, which is devoid of the typical snowfall that would protect dormant crops.

* U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday morning that weekly U.S. soybean export inspections were 1.139 million tonnes, in line with forecasts for 1.1 million to 1.3 million tonnes.

* Corn export inspections were 683,898 tonnes, also in line with trade estimates that ranged from 575,000 to 800,000 tonnes. Export inspections of wheat totalled 274,506 tonnes, below estimates for 300,000 to 600,000 tonnes.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar dropped on Tuesday to its lowest in more than three months, weighed down on the first trading day of 2018 by expectations of a slower pace of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve amid a tepid U.S. inflation picture.

* Oil prices hit mid-2015 highs in early trading on Tuesday but dipped to settle slightly lower as major pipelines in Libya and the UK restarted and U.S production soared to the highest level in more than four decades.

* U.S. stocks rose in the first session of the new year and the Nasdaq closed above 7,000 for the first time on Tuesday as investors were optimistic that 2018 will bring more gains for the market.

Grains prices at 0133 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 435.25 1.75 +0.40% +1.93% 427.51 75 CBOT corn 353.25 0.00 +0.00% +0.71% 352.43 67 CBOT soy 966.75 2.00 +0.21% +0.52% 988.05 47 CBOT rice 11.75 -$0.03 -0.21% -1.43% $12.28 27 WTI crude 60.42 $0.05 +0.08% +0.00% $58.01 76

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.205 $0.000 -0.02% +0.38% USD/AUD 0.7823 -0.001 -0.08% +0.26%

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

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sunil Nair)