GRAINS-Wheat firms, lingers near 8-day high as U.S. crop suffers

SYDNEY, April 4 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures edged higher on Wednesday to linger near an eight-day high, as fears over widespread crop losses in the world's No. 1 exporter were stoked after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the condition of the crop was the lowest in 16 years.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active wheat futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.7 percent at $4.60-3/4 a bushel by 0104 GMT, having closed up 2.5 percent on Tuesday when prices hit a high of $4.63-1/2 a bushel - the highest since March 26.

* The most active soybean futures were up 0.2 percent at $10.40-1/4 a bushel, after closing up 0.2 percent on Tuesday.

* The most active corn futures were nearly unchanged at $3.89 a bushel, having closed up 0.3 percent in the previous session

* The USDA late on Monday assessed only 32 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop in good to excellent condition as of Sunday, down from 51 percent this time last year. It was the lowest rating for this point in the crop year since 2002.

* Markets were pressured by fears of a U.S. trade war with China, a top buyer of agricultural products, after Beijing warned of counter-measures to further tariffs on Chinese goods.

* A cold and wet weather pattern is expected to persist in the heart of the U.S. corn belt through mid-April, stoking concerns that delayed planting could dent yield prospects. Acreage is already projected to be down from last year.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar rose on Tuesday, led by gains against the yen and Swiss franc, as risk appetite improved and Wall Street's main indexes advanced, helping the U.S. currency stabilize after recent declines.

* Oil edged up on Tuesday, supported by a recovery in the equities market and on a technical bounce for crude after the biggest daily percentage drop in almost a year, but Brent futures stayed well below $70 a barrel.

* The three major U.S. stock indexes ended higher after a choppy session on Tuesday as investors looked forward to earnings season while the S&P 500 pushed above a key support level and Amazon.com shares jumped on bets that criticism from President Donald Trump would not translate to policy changes.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0145 China Caixin services PMI Mar 0900 Euro zone Unemployment rate Feb 1215 U.S. ADP national employment Mar 1400 U.S. Factory orders Feb 1400 U.S. ISM non-manufacturing PMI Mar

Grains prices at 0104 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 460.75 3.25 +0.71% +3.25% 473.43 54 CBOT corn 388.50 0.00 +0.00% +0.32% 382.25 71 CBOT soy 1040.75 2.75 +0.26% +0.51% 1043.99 58 CBOT rice 12.41 $0.02 +0.16% +0.77% $12.35 59 WTI crude 63.37 -$0.14 -0.22% +0.57% $62.82 47

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.228 $0.001 +0.06% -0.20% USD/AUD 0.7685 0.000 +0.03% +0.30%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)