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GRAINS-Soybean retreats as South American crop crunch eases

Colin Packham and Sybille de La Hamaide

* Soybeans fall for first time in five sessions

* Corn edges lower

* Wheat falls for second consecutive session

* Market participants await USDA reports on Friday

SYDNEY/PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures edged lower on Thursday, retreating for the first time in five sessions as concerns about lower yields of South American crops eased on a positive rain forecast. Corn fell, while wheat slid nearly 1 percent to extend losses into a second consecutive session. The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were down 0.2 percent at $9.20-1/4 a bushel by 1155 GMT, having firmed 0.2 percent on Wednesday. Market participants were awaiting a long list of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop forecasts and estimates due on Friday after key reports were delayed due to the 35-day partial government shutdown. "Some South American soybean regions remain on the dry side. Weather forecasters are expecting enough rain to fall in those regions to forestall greater worries about a decline in yields," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The harvest in Brazil's second-largest producing state of Parana is well ahead of last season, with limited damage to the fields from drought, state agricultural research body Deral said on Tuesday. However, losses were checked as traders drew comfort from confirmation of more export sales to China, following a vow by Beijing last week to purchase 5 million tonnes, stoking hopes for a trade deal between Washington and Beijing. The most active corn futures were down 0.1 percent at $3.79-1/2 a bushel, having gained 0.4 percent in the previous session. Wheat were down 0.9 percent at $5.21-1/2 a bushel, after closing down 0.2 percent on Wednesday, despite U.S. export prospects rising. "The wheat price on the CBOT climbed briefly yesterday after Russia raised the prospect of lower grain exports in the short term due to the rise in local prices. These gains have been shed again in the meantime, however, no doubt partly as a result of the firmer U.S. dollar," Commerzbank said in a note.

Prices at 1155 GMT

Last Change Pct End YtdMove 2018 Pct


CBOT wheat Dec 521.50 -4.50 -0.86 503.25 3.63CBOT corn Dec 379.50 -0.50 -0.13 375.00 1.20CBOT soy Dec 920.25 -1.50 -0.16 895.00 2.82Paris wheat Mar 203.00 -0.50 -0.25 203.25 -0.12Paris maize Nov 176.50 0.00 0.00 178.50 -1.12Paris rape Aug 372.50 0.00 0.00 364.50 2.19WTI crude oil 53.60 -0.41 -0.76 45.41 18.04Euro/dlr 1.1326 0.00 -0.30 1.1469 -1.25

Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Alexander Smith)