GRAINS-Corn dips from 3-week high as soybeans fall, wheat rises

(Recasts, updates prices, adds analyst comments; changes byline, dateline, previously HAMBURG/SINGAPORE)

By Michael Hirtzer

CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) – U.S. corn fell on Wednesday, snapping four-sessions of gains, as the stockpile of grain-based ethanol hit a nine-month high and meteorologists forecast more favorable conditions for U.S. plantings.

Soybean futures also eased while wheat reversed from earlier declines and was headed for its seventh straight session without a loss at the Chicago Board of Trade. End-of-the-month profit-taking weighed on each contract while commercial traders also squared positions on first notice day for deliveries against May futures contracts.

“The weather is going to be a little better – you are seeing some additional selling in the new crop because maybe we’ll get all the corn planted after all,” said Jack Scoville, analyst at brokerage the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Warmer and drier conditions were forecast beginning this weekend in the southern and central U.S. Corn Belt, which should provide farmers an opportunity to catch up on spring seedings that were off to a slow start, the Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

Corn futures on Tuesday settled at the highest levels since August as excessive rain delayed planting in the U.S. Midwest before prices hit their session lows early on Wednesday following a U.S. Energy Information Admistration report showing the ethanol stockpile at the largest levels since July.

Most-active CBOT July corn was down 3-3/4 cents to $5.17-3/4 per bushel while new-crop December fell 4 cents to $5.08-1/4 as of 11:20 a.m. CDT (1620 GMT). CBOT July soybeans fell 11-1/2 cents to $15.05-3/4.

“There is a risk-off approach today including soybeans as the market assesses the impact of U.S. weather,” a European trader said.

Wheat futures continued to bound higher on worries that cold and drought conditions in the southern U.S. Plains would reduce yields for the hard red winter wheat crop. An annual crop tour in top-growing state of Kansas was in its second day after scouts on Tuesday estimated the poorest prospects in 13 years for wheat fields in the northern part of the state.

CBOT July wheat was up 5-3/4 cents to $7.22-1/4 per bushel while Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat jumped 8-3/4 cents to $8.11-1/4.

Crop scouts on the first day of the annual three-day tour of Kansas projected an average yield for hard red winter wheat in the northern portion of the state at 34.7 bushels per acre, down from 43.8 bushels a year ago.

The tour’s five-year average for the same area is also 43.8 bushels per acre.

Prices at 11:20 a.m. CDT (1620 GMT)                      
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  517.75    -3.75  -0.7%   22.7%
 CBOT soy                  1505.75   -11.50  -0.8%   14.7%
 CBOT meal                  489.70    -1.50  -0.3%   11.9%
 CBOT soyoil                 42.10    -0.85  -2.0%    8.4%
 CBOT wheat                 722.25     5.75   0.8%   19.3%
 CBOT rice                 1553.00    -1.00  -0.1%    0.1%
 EU wheat                   215.00     0.25   0.1%    2.9%
 US crude                    99.51    -1.76  -1.8%    1.1%
 Dow Jones                  16,554       18   0.1%   -0.1%
 Gold                      1293.16    -2.82  -0.2%    7.3%
Euro/dollar 1.3870 0.0059 0.4% 1.6% Dollar Index 79.4910 -0.3170 -0.4% -0.7% Baltic Freight 943 -6 -0.6% -58.6% (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson and Andrew Hay)

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