Top Stories
Top Stories

GRAINS-Corn firm as market wrestles with weather risks to U.S. planting

Gus Trompiz and Colin Packham

* Snow could add to Midwest planting delays after floods

* Market awaits weekly USDA crop progress report

* Soybeans also firm as market monitors U.S.-China talks

* Wheat eases after Friday gain

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SYDNEY, April 15 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures edged higher on Monday as the market assessed the extent to which extreme weather may disrupt the U.S. planting season. Price gains were modest as investors waited for a U.S. government crop report later on Monday for a planting update, while continuing to set U.S. weather threats against a large global supply that is being padded by bumper South American crops. Soybeans also ticked higher, with the market continuing to monitor U.S.-Chinese trade talks. Wheat prices eased as hefty global inventories and a setback for U.S. product in a tender on Friday by top importer Egypt outweighed concerns about spring planting delays. The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.6 percent at $3.63 a bushel, as of 1216 GMT, after also edging higher on Friday. A blizzard last week dumped snow on parts of the U.S. Plains and Midwest, threatening to further slow field work in areas recovering from floods last month. At the same time, investors have built up a big short position in corn futures, with huge U.S. stocks and rising estimates for harvests in Brazil and Argentina contributing to bearish sentiment. "If the unfavourable weather conditions in the US growing areas persist for any prolonged period and further delay planting, this could prompt position squaring and push up the corn price significantly," Commerzbank analysts said in a note. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop progress report after the market close in Chicago will give an update on corn and spring wheat planting. CBOT wheat futures slipped 0.5 percent to $4.62-1/4 a bushel, having closed 0.9 percent higher on Friday. Egypt's state grain buyer GASC on Friday bought wheat from Romania and Ukraine, passing on an offer of U.S. wheat that was more expensive when including ocean freight. "The reality is, the world's grain supplies are plentiful. There are substantial downside (U.S. weather) conditions, it is not a deal breaker," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank. CBOT soybean futures were up 0.5 percent at $8.99-3/4 a bushel, having closed unchanged on Friday. Investors were continuing to weigh chances of a resolution to a tariff battle between Washington and Beijing that has notably disrupted soybean trade. U.S. negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal, according to two sources briefed on discussions.

Prices at 1216 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd PctMove 2018 MoveCBOT wheat 462.25 -2.25 -0.48 503.25 -8.15CBOT corn 363.00 2.00 0.55 375.00 -3.20CBOT soy 899.75 4.50 0.50 895.00 0.53Paris wheat May 189.25 0.00 0.00 205.00 -7.68Paris maize Jun 167.25 -0.25 -0.15 184.50 -9.35Paris rape May 361.50 -0.25 -0.07 365.25 -1.03WTI crude oil 63.21 -0.68 -1.06 45.41 39.20Euro/dlr 1.13 0.00 0.10 1.1469 -1.37

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

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney, Editing by Kirsten Donovan)