GRAINS-Wheat eases, still up nearly 10 pct this week on U.S. weather

* Wheat up nearly 10 pct this week

* Dry weather across U.S. Plains boosting wheat prices

(Updates prices, changes dateline, byline) PARIS/SINGAPORE, March 2 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures edged lower on Friday after a rally in the previous session but remained on track for a rise of nearly 10 percent this week as forecasts of more dry weather across the U.S. Plains supported the market. Soybeans are poised for a fourth week of gains as severe drought in Argentina threatens to reduce a global surplus, while corn is on track for one of its biggest weekly rallies since early July. Wheat futures have advanced for the past six sessions, with dry weather expected to curb U.S. winter crop yields. Agricultural meteorologists are forecasting below-normal moisture levels over the next few weeks, which are expected further damage the crop. The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active wheat contract has jumped 11.3 percent this week, the market's biggest rally since June 2015. Soybeans are up 2.7 percent on the week while corn has gained 5.4 percent. Dry weather in Argentina, the world's biggest soyoil and soymeal supplier, is supporting prices. "We are seeing a pretty strong move in wheat prices and it is all because of the U.S. winter wheat crop," said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist for National Australia Bank. "It is very interesting to see this, we are adjusting our grain-price outlook as there is potential for more upside. There is likely to be supply response to this price rally." Crop conditions for drought-battered corn and soybeans in Argentina worsened this week and ratings among the top three provinces are now on average about 23 percentage points lower than a month ago. The poor conditions prompted the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange to cut its forecast for the country's soybean crop on Thursday to 44 million tonnes from its previous estimate of 47 million. The corn estimate was unchanged at 37 million tonnes. About 57.5 million tonnes of soybeans were harvested a year ago, along with roughly 40 million tonnes of corn. Argentina's lower production is expected generate more demand for U.S. soybeans and corn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday morning reported weekly soybean export sales of 979,900 tonnes, topping forecasts for between 400,000 tonnes and 800,000 tonnes. The agency also announced snap soybean sales on Thursday that totalled 246,000 tonnes, including 120,000 tonnes for delivery to China during the current marketing year. The USDA's weekly report showed corn export sales of 1.753 million tonnes, up from 1.621 million a week ago. Analysts' forecasts ranged from 1 million tonnes to 1.5 million tonnes.

Prices at 1330 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd Move 2017 Pct


CBOT wheat May 508.25 -7.25 -1.41 427.00 19.03 CBOT corn May 386.25 0.00 0.00 350.75 10.12 CBOT soy May 1076.25 8.25 0.77 951.75 13.08 Paris wheat Mar 166.25 -1.00 -0.60 162.50 2.31 Paris maize Jun 162.75 7.75 5.00 163.50 -0.46 Paris rape Feb 357.50 0.00 0.00 347.75 2.80 WTI crude oil 60.82 -0.17 -0.28 60.42 0.66 Euro/dlr 1.23 0.00 0.35

Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Naveen Thukral Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and David Goodman)