×

GRAINS-Chicago grain, soy prices edge up as dollar weakens

* Forecast for Brazilian soybean crop see record production

* China soybean imports hit second-highest on record in Dec

* Wheat supported by dry conditions in U.S. Southern Plains (Adds quotes, updates prices)

LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures edged higher, boosted partly by a softer dollar, but remained on track for a weekly fall due to large U.S. supplies and forecasts for a near-record Brazilian crop.

Dealers said activity was subdued, with the market awaiting the release of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Friday which may reinforce concerns about excess supplies.

The dollar slipped to a four month low against a basket of currencies, boosting prices denominated in the U.S. currency.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.1 percent at $9.50-3/4 a bushel at 1112 GMT but was on course for a weekly loss of two percent.

"Brazilian crop is looking good. There is dryness in Argentina but that will not make a huge difference as there are plenty of supplies," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank.

"Chinese demand is pretty strong, the December imports are big but right now the market is influenced by production, so it a supply side of story."

Chinese imports of soybeans jumped to the second-highest volume on record in December, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data, boosted by strong demand in the run-up to next month's Lunar New Year holiday.

Agroconsult on Thursday said Brazil should harvest 114.1 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017/18 crop season, which would match an all-time record set in 2016/17. The consultancy in November forecast a 111-million-tonne harvest.

But Argentine farmers will harvest 52 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017/18 season, the Rosario grains exchange said in a report late on Wednesday, citing drought as its reason for cutting a previous forecast of 54.5 million tonnes.

Due to weather-related delays in planting, the exchange cut its estimate of 17/18 soybean area to 18.5 million hectares from 18.8 million hectares previously.

CBOT's most active wheat contract was up 0.2 percent at $4.34 a bushel with March wheat on Euronext was unchanged at 159 euros a tonne.

"USDA is expected to lower US exports and raise stocks in this weeks report, due to the ongoing slowness of exports. This, combined with large global supplies, continues to pressure markets," said David Sheppard, managing director of UK merchant Gleadell in a market note.

"However, some concerns over dry conditions in the U.S. Southern Plains and the likelihood that US winter wheat plantings will show another yearly decline are seen as offering some support, especially given the hefty short position still held by fund managers."

Weekly U.S. wheat exports dropped to 71,500 tonnes, a marketing-season low and below estimates for 250,000 to 450,000 tonnes.

CBOT's most active corn contract was up 0.2 percent at $3.49-1/2 a bushel. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Sunil Nair and Alexander Smith)