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GRAINS-Wetter U.S. forecasts pressure KC wheat; soy, corn edge up

(Updates with closing U.S. prices) CHICAGO, March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. hard red winter wheat futures fell to near two-month lows on Wednesday on forecasts of another round of beneficial showers next week in the southern Plains that could boost crop prospects, analysts said. Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat rallied late in the session to end higher, while CBOT soybeans and corn also posted modest advances. Kansas City May hard red winter wheat settled down 4-1/2 cents at $4.65-1/2 per bushel after hitting $4.58-1/4, its lowest since Jan. 26. CBOT May wheat finished 1/2 cent higher at $4.53-1/2 after dipping to $4.46-3/4, its lowest since Jan. 26 as well. CBOT May soybeans ended up 1-1/2 cents at $10.29-3/4 a bushel and May corn rose 1/2 cent at $3.75. K.C. wheat futures declined on expectations of rains next week in the Plains hard red winter wheat belt, where crops are coming out of dormancy and resuming spring growth. K.C. and CBOT Chicago wheat futures have been under pressure since a winter storm this week brought rain and snow to parts of the Plains where drought had been intensifying. "If you believe the wettest model, you are going to get some rain into that dry area that missed the weekend rains," said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis. "Some guys think they can have an average yield, in areas that were close to a disaster," Cekander said. CBOT soybeans edged higher on technical buying after a seesaw session while CBOT soymeal and soyoil futures also firmed. Worries about the impact of a potential trade war on U.S. grain and soy exports hung over the market, capping rallies, as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to announce up to $60 billion in import duties on Chinese goods. "This fear of China (trade) retaliation is around every day," Cekander said. China is by far the world's largest importer of soybeans, which are the top U.S. agricultural export. However, market bulls noted a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's attache in China which put soybean imports in the 2018/19 season at 100 million tonnes, up from 97 million in 2017/18. Corn was underpinned by export demand for U.S. supplies. The USDA said private exporters sold 138,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to South Korea, marking the third such sales announcement to various buyers in as many days. Meanwhile, traders have started to shift their focus to the USDA's March 29 planting intentions and quarterly stocks reports.

CBOT settlement prices:

Net Pct Volume

Last change change

CBOT wheat WK8 453.50 0.50 0.1 76296 CBOT corn CK8 375.00 0.50 0.1 140380 CBOT soybeans SK8 1029.75 1.50 0.2 90316 CBOT soymeal SMK8 364.50 2.80 0.8 44829 CBOT soyoil BOK8 32.37 0.63 2.0 78700

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 Nigel Hunt in London, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)