* Soybeans climb to highest since Dec. 12 on Argentina dryness
* Delays in Brazilian harvest add fuel to soybean rally
(Adds details, quotes) SINGAPORE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures gained more ground on Monday with the market climbing to its highest in almost six weeks on concerns over dry weather in Argentina and delays in Brazilian harvest. Wheat bounced back, recouping Friday's losses on short-covering, while corn rose for a second consecutive session on the back of strong U.S. weekly exports. The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade was up 0.5 percent at $9.82-1/2 a bushel as of 0247 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since Dec. 12 at $9.84 a bushel. Corn gained 0.5 percent at $3.54-1/4 a bushel, having gained 0.3 percent in the previous session, and wheat rose 0.8 percent at $4.26 a bushel, after closing down 0.6 percent on Friday. Soybean prices are being supported as concerns over persistent dryness in Argentina stoked fears about harvest prospects in the world's third-largest producer of the commodity. "The soybean market responded (to dryness in Argentina) by adding to the weather premium in prices," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The weather premium is now large enough to have lifted Chicago March soybeans out of their range for the past month." The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange last week said it could reduce its 2017/18 soybean planting area estimate further after sowing delays caused by dry weather in northwestern Argentina.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said weekly export sales of soybeans totalled 1.528 million tonnes, topping market forecasts that ranged from 800,000 tonnes to 1.4 million tonnes. Brazil's 2017/18 soybean crop harvest is lagging last year's pace and the long-term average for this time of the year, which will result in a sharp reduction in the amount of soy that will be available in the market by the end of January. Weekly corn export sales of 1.891 million tonnes were well above analyst estimates, while export sales of wheat were just 190,500 tonnes, below a range of market forecasts. Large speculators increased their net short position in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures in the week to Jan. 16, regulatory data released on Friday showed. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's weekly commitments of traders report also showed non-commercial traders, a category that includes hedge funds, increased their net short position in CBOT wheat and increased their net short position in soybeans.
Grains prices at 0233 GMT
Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 426.00 3.25 +0.77% +0.18% 424.42 54 CBOT corn 354.00 1.50 +0.43% +0.71% 350.34 66 CBOT soy 982.50 5.25 +0.54% +0.98% 972.09 72 CBOT rice 12.11 -$0.10 -0.82% -0.33% $12.03 64 WTI crude 63.57 $0.20 +0.32% -0.59% $60.33 65
Euro/dlr $1.223 $0.001 +0.07% -0.07% USD/AUD 0.7984 -0.001 -0.08% -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 Sherry Jacob-Phillips)