×

GRAINS-Soybeans rise as Argentina stays dry, U.S.-China jitters ease

* Soybeans touch one-week high in moderate rebound

* Investors see signs of lessening U.S.-China trade tension

* Forecasters still cutting Argentina crop outlook

* Corn, wheat ease after one-week highs (Updates with U.S. trading; changes byline, dateline; previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)

CHICAGO, March 26 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures touched a one-week high on Monday after crop-growing areas in Argentina received less rain than expected, increasing concerns that drought in the world's No. 3 exporter will tighten global supplies.

Argentina's dryness took center stage as some traders said fears about a possible U.S.-China trade war were easing. U.S. farmers and exporters have worried for months that China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, would restrict U.S. imports due to rising bilateral tensions.

China imported $19.6 billion worth of U.S. farm goods last year, with soybeans accounting for $12.4 billion. On Friday, its Commerce Ministry said the Chinese government may impose a higher tariff on U.S. pork imports, but made no announcement about potential duties on soy.

"Since corn and beans were not mentioned in the retaliatory measures, the market appears to be a bit more confident," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a founder of Iowa-based broker Summit Commodity Brokerage.

The most-active soybean contract rose 4-1/2 cents to $10.32-3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade by 11:20 CDT (1620 GMT). The contract earlier set a one-week peak of $10.40-1/4.

CBOT corn touched a one-week peak at $3.80-3/4, before slipping 3 cents lower to $3.74-1/4 a bushel. CBOT wheat dipped 3-1/4 cents to $4.57 a bushel after hitting a one-week high at $4.63-3/4.

In Argentina, rains that were expected to bring relief to soy- and corn-growing areas failed to materialize over the weekend, all but killing hopes that yields might recover from four months of unrelenting dryness. More heat and dry weather are expected.

"The weekend rain was pretty disappointing down in Argentina," said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading, a grain broker in Indiana. The country is also the world's No. 3 corn exporter and top supplier of soy products.

The Buenos Aires grains exchange last week cut its forecast for Argentina's soybean harvest to 39.5 million tonnes from 42 million tonnes.

Coming up, traders are waiting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday to issue data on U.S. grain stocks and estimates for spring U.S. plantings. Farmers are expected to have planted more soy than corn for the first time since 1983, according to a Reuters poll.

The United States is the world's biggest producer and exporter of corn, and the No. 2 soybean exporter after Brazil. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by David Goodman, G Crosse)