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GRAINS-Corn firms, lingers near 17-day high on U.S. flooding

SYDNEY, March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures edged higher on Friday to linger near a more than a two-week high as flash flooding stocked fears of planting delays, pushing the grain towards a weekly gains of 1 percent.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade up 1 percent for the week, after finishing the previous week up 2.5 percent.

* Corn hit a high of $3.77-1/2 a bushel on Thursday, the highest since March 4.

* The most active soybean futures little changed for the week after closing up 1.5 percent last week.

* The most active wheat futures up 0.6 percent for the week after closing up 5 percent last week.

* Corn supported by flooding in the western Corn Belt, including Iowa and Nebraska, two of the top three corn-producing states. Early estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone.

* Heavy snows and the expected flooding in the U.S. northern Plains spring wheat belt, particularly in top producer North Dakota, have also raised the risk of delays in planting the 2019 crop. Seeding normally begins in April.

* The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Thursday that the extensive flooding in Nebraska and Iowa would persist in the wider region through May and become more dire as water flows downstream.

* Export sales for corn and wheat last week were in line with trade expectations, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data released on Thursday. But soybean sales were well below expectations, with minimal reported sales to China.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar largely held onto the previous session's gains in early Asian trade on Friday, while sterling edged up on news that Britain could leave the European Union without a Brexit deal at a slightly later date.

* Oil prices on Friday hovered close to 2019 peaks reached the previous day, propped up by supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

* An Apple-led tech rally pushed Wall Street higher on Thursday as jitters over the Federal Reserve's forecast of an economic slowdown were calmed by upbeat economic data.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0815 France Markit Mfg Flash PMI March0830 Germany Markit Mfg Flash PMI March0900 EU Markit Mfg Flash PMI March0900 EU Markit Serv Flash PMI March0900 EU Markit Comp Flash PMI March1030 Russia Central bank key rate March1400 US Existing Home Sales Feb

ECB President Mario Draghi participates in European Council meeting

Grains prices at 0129 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSICBOT wheat 465.25 -1.25 -0.27% +0.11% 473.56 58CBOT corn 377.25 1.00 +0.27% +1.55% 375.36 73CBOT soy 910.75 0.25 +0.03% +0.52% 912.16 65CBOT rice 11.05 -$0.04 -0.32% +1.01% $10.60 77WTI crude 59.93 -$0.05 -0.08% +0.17% $56.64 82

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.137 -$0.001 -0.06% -0.39%USD/AUD 0.7095 -0.002 -0.23% -0.28%

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

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Rashmi Aich)