GRAINS-Corn heads for biggest weekly loss in 11 months

SYDNEY, May 16 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures opened steady on Friday, though remained near the lowest in 1 1/2 months, as the grain headed for its biggest weekly slide in nearly 11 months on forecasts for improved crop weather in the northern areas of the U.S. Corn Belt.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Chicago Board Of Trade corn was down 4.5 percent for the week, the biggest slide in nearly 11 months. The contract hit a low of $4.81-3/4 a bushel on Thursday, the weakest since March 31

* July wheat lost 6.2 percent for the week, the biggest weekly slide since June, 2013.

* July soybeans were down 1.4 percent for the week, the third weekly slide in the last month.

* Corn under pressure as scattered showers are seen in the central U.S. Plains from Friday into the weekend with a better chance for rain forecast for the end of next week, Commodity Weather Group said.

* Old-crop corn export sales of 343,000 tonnes were in line with expectations while old-crop soybean export sales of 73,600 tonnes topped the range of analysts’ forecasts.

* The U.S. Agriculture Department’s export sales report released on Thursday morning showed old-crop export sales of wheat were just 54,900 tonnes, below trade forecasts for 100,000 to 300,000 tonnes.

MARKET NEWS

* The euro was back in familiar territory against the dollar early on Friday, having staged a surprisingly strong rebound from a 2-1/2 month trough as investors booked profits on bearish positions ahead of the weekend.

* Front-month Brent crude futures rose and went off the board on Thursday at the highest settlement since March, while U.S. futures fell, snapping a string of three straight higher settlements.

* U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, giving the Dow and the S&P 500 their worst declines in more than a month, as small-cap shares extended their retreat and Wal-Mart results disappointed.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0200 China

Foreign direct investment

Jan-April

0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade

March

1230 U.S.

Housing starts

April

1230 U.S.

Building permits

April

1355 U.S. Univ of Michigan sentiment index

May

Grains prices at 0035 GMT Contract

Last

Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat

677.75

-0.50 -0.07%

-1.81%

699.90 30 CBOT corn

484.50

0.25 +0.05%

-2.22%

505.92 31 CBOT soy

1466.25

-4.00 -0.27%

-1.38%

1476.76 42 CBOT rice

$15.38

$0.00 +0.00%

+0.65%

$15.47 49 WTI crude

$101.72

$0.22 +0.22%

-0.63%

$101.67 60 Currencies

Euro/dlr

$1.371 $0.000 +0.01%

-0.02% USD/AUD

0.935

0.000 -0.02%

-0.20% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Ed Davies)

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