GRAINS-Wheat firms as USDA confirms adverse weather has damaged crops

* Wheat extends gains into second straight session

* Soybeans firm despite fears for Chinese demand

* Corn edges higher

SYDNEY, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures edged higher on Tuesday as the U.S. Department of Agriculture said production in a key growing region was hit by adverse weather last week. Corn edged higher, extending gains into a second session, while soybeans firmed despite fears about potential curbs in Chinese demand for U.S. supplies. The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.4 percent at $4.92-1/2 a bushel by 0426 GMT, having closed up 0.3 percent on Monday. Analysts said wheat was drawing support from confirmation of further damage to crops across a major producing region. "Winter kill due to a lack of snow cover and a lack of moisture have damaged crops again. This is supportive to prices," said Angus Thornton, analyst at Profarmer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture after the close of trading on Monday rated 12 percent of the Kansas winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition, down from 13 percent a week earlier. The USDA rated 53 percent of the Kansas crop as poor to very poor, up from 50 percent the previous week. The USDA earlier on Monday said 389,358 tonnes of U.S. wheat were exported last week, within the range of expectations. Exports of 910,237 tonnes of soybeans were also within expectations, while corn exports of 1.4 million tonnes topped estimates. USDA/I, USDA/EST The most active corn futures were up 0.1 percent at $3.90-1/2 a bushel after closing up 0.1 on Monday. The most active soybean futures were up 0.4 percent to $10.45 a bushel, after closing up 0.2 percent in the previous session when it hit its lowest since Feb. 21. Dry weather continues to grip Argentina, a situation that is unlikely to be aided significantly by showers expected this week. Chinese officials have said U.S. soybeans are a prime target for retaliation against tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on steel and aluminium imports, according to the American Soybean Association.

Grains prices at 0426 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 492.50 1.75 +0.36% +0.66% 478.10 57 CBOT corn 391.00 0.25 +0.06% +0.13% 377.77 69 CBOT soy 1045.00 4.00 +0.38% +0.55% 1032.48 41 CBOT rice 12.31 $0.00 +0.00% -1.01% $12.44 42 WTI crude 61.23 -$0.13 -0.21% -1.31% $62.13 44


Euro/dlr $1.233 $0.000 -0.02% +0.20% USD/AUD 0.7875 0.000 +0.04% +0.33%

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)