GRAINS-Wheat firms as USDA reports crop damage after recent dry weather

U.S. wheat futures edged highe on Tuesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the condition of the winter crop was lagging well behind previous years after recent dry weather.

Soybeans rebounded after sliding nearly 1 percent in the previous session, with corn also advancing.

But fears of a U.S. trade war with China, a top buyer of agricultural products, kept investors on edge after Beijing announced higher tariffs on a long list of U.S. goods, including pork and ethanol.

The most-active wheat for May delivery on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.7 percent at $4.49-1/4 a bushel by 0249 GMT, having closed down 1 percent on Monday.

The USDA said 32 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop was in good to excellent condition, compared with 51 percent this time last year.

“The market remains more than a little worried about the U.S. hard red winter (HRW) crop,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a note.

“The USDA’s crop confirmed that a large chunk of the HRW crop is in poor condition.”

Chicago May soybean futures rose 0.8 percent to $10.43-1/2 a bushel. The contract ended down 0.9 percent on Monday after hitting a high of $10.60-1/2, its loftiest since March 9.

Corn gained 0.2 percent to $3.88 a bushel.

The USDA last week forecast U.S. plantings of both corn and soybeans below trade expectations. The agency also estimated quarterly U.S. stocks of both commodities at historic highs, which the market largely shrugged off.

Grains prices at 0249 GMT

 Contract       Last   Change  Pct chg  Two-day chg    MA 30  RSI
 CBOT wheat   449.25     3.00   +0.67%       -0.39%   473.21   42
 CBOT corn    388.00     0.75   +0.19%       +0.06%   381.72   72
 CBOT soy    1043.50     8.00   +0.77%       -0.12%  1044.08   59
 CBOT rice     12.31    $0.00   +0.00%       -1.08%   $12.34   50
 WTI crude     63.16    $0.15   +0.24%       -2.74%   $62.76   46
 Currencies                                                      
 Euro/dlr     $1.231   $0.001   +0.04%       -0.13%              
 USD/AUD      0.7675    0.001   +0.17%       -0.04%

Most active contracts
Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Colin Packham Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.)

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