GRAINS-Wheat falls for 3rd session; market eyes U.S., Russia weather

* Wheat faces biggest 3-day decline since mid-December

* U.S., Russian crops vulnerable; too early for crop-damage

(Adds details, quotes) SINGAPORE, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat slid on Monday, on track for its biggest three-day fall since mid-December, although worry over lack of protective snow cover in the United States and Russia limited decline. Soybeans edged lower after hitting a three-week high on Friday on concerns that dry weather would curb yields in the world's third-largest supplier Argentina. The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active wheat contract gave up 0.3 percent at $4.29-1/2 a bushel by 0314 GMT, after ending Friday down 0.8 percent. Soybeans fell 0.1 percent to $9.69-3/4 a bushel, having firmed 0.3 percent on Friday, when prices also marked their highest since Dec. 14 at $9.77 a bushel. Corn eased 0.1 percent to $3.51 a bushel. Wheat prices have been supported against further drops by fears that frigid weather might damage crops across key U.S. producing regions, which are already struggling with persistent dry weather. "It is a bit of a concern but it is too early to talk about crop damage in the U.S. and Russia," said one agricultural commodities analyst in Melbourne. "We will not know the yield potential until March or April." With stiff competition from a last year's record Russian wheat crop, European Union's soft wheat exports in the 2017/18 season reached 10.6 million tonnes by Jan. 2, down 20 percent from the 13.3 million tonnes exported by the same time in the previous season. Drought in Argentina's bread basket province of Buenos Aires has raised the risk that some of the 18.1 million hectares expected to be sown with soybeans this season will go unplanted, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange and analysts warned.

Still, benefited by good weather, Brazil's 2017/18 soybean crop, which farmers are now beginning to harvest, is expected to surpass 110 million tonnes, the second-largest in history, according to the average of 11 forecasts in a Reuters poll on Friday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday that U.S soybean export sales in the latest week totalled 560,800 tonnes, just below the low-end of market expectations. Large speculators trimmed their net short positions in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures in the week to Jan. 2, regulatory data released on Friday showed. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed that noncommercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, trimmed their net short position in CBOT wheat and increased their net short position in soybeans.

Grains prices at 0314 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 429.50 -1.25 -0.29% -1.49% 426.83 54 CBOT corn 351.00 -0.25 -0.07% -0.57% 351.88 54 CBOT soy 969.75 -1.00 -0.10% +0.10% 985.93 54 CBOT rice 11.83 $0.03 +0.21% +1.59% $12.22 40 WTI crude 61.62 $0.18 +0.29% -0.63% $58.53 73


Euro/dlr $1.203 $0.000 +0.03% -0.29% USD/AUD 0.7849 -0.001 -0.17% -0.18%

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

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Tom Hogue)