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GRAINS-Wheat prices bounce after steep losses; soybeans also firm

(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline from previous HAMBURG) CHICAGO, March 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures rose about 1 percent on Monday in a recovery bounce after falling to a seven-week low, but trade was cautious after weekend rains on the parched U.S. Plains offered respite for the winter wheat crop. Soybeans firmed on bargain-buying after Monday's losses while corn was narrowly mixed in choppy trade. As of 12:33 p.m. CDT (1733 GMT), CBOT May wheat was up 5-3/4 cents at $4.56-1/2 a bushel after dipping to $4.50, its lowest since Jan. 26. K.C. May hard red winter wheat was up 1-3/4 cents at $4.72. CBOT May soybeans were up 6-1/2 cents at $10.29 a bushel and May corn was unchanged at $3.75 a bushel. "Everything is finding technical support today. In absence of that aggressive selling that we were seeing yesterday, we are starting to drift back up a bit," said Ted Seifried, analyst with Zaner Ag Hedge. K.C. wheat futures trailed the gains in CBOT wheat as some forecast models called for another round of moisture in the drought-hit southern Plains, where the hard red winter wheat crop is exiting dormancy and resuming spring growth. "The midday maps were a little wetter, although just east of the hard red winter wheat belt. Just the fact that there is rain out there is keeping them (buyers) at bay," said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) late Monday rated 11 percent of the winter wheat top producer Kansas in good-to-excellent condition, down from 12 percent a week earlier. Wheat ratings also declined in Texas. However, those ratings likely did not reflect the impact of Monday's precipitation. CBOT soybean futures were supported by technical buying and short-covering a day after Monday's 2.6 percent slide in the May contract. Expectations of more rain in Argentina on drought-damaged soybean crops pressured markets on Monday, along with funds paring big net long positions in soy and corn. Traders remained wary of potential harm to U.S. farm exports if the Trump administration goes ahead with plans for new tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese technology and consumer goods annually. Soybeans are the biggest U.S. agricultural export, followed U.S. agricultural exports could be at risk in any retaliation over tariffs implemented by the White House, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said on Monday.

"Trump talking about hitting China with annual tariffs has the market continuing to be worried about a trade war," Seifried said.

CBOT prices as of 12:31 p.m. CDT (1731 GMT):

Net Pct Volume

Last change change

CBOT wheat WK8 456.50 5.75 1.3 73436 CBOT corn CK8 375.00 0.00 0.0 159616 CBOT soybeans SK8 1029.25 6.75 0.7 61524 CBOT soymeal SMK8 362.40 3.80 1.1 39299 CBOT soyoil BOK8 31.66 -0.40 -1.3 42178

NOTE: CBOT May wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per bushel, soymeal in dollars per short ton and soyoil in cents per lb.

(Additional reporting by Michael Hogan, and Naveen Thukral; Editing by Bernadette Baum)