GRAINS-Corn rises on U.S. planting delays; soybeans sink

(Updates with U.S. trading, previous dateline SYDNEY)
    * Rain threatens corn planting progress after slow start
    * Expectations for U.S. imports weigh on soybeans
    * Wheat traders eye forecasts for rain in dry U.S. Plains

    By Tom Polansek
    CHICAGO, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures edged higher
on Tuesday as concerns about slow planting progress helped fuel
a rebound from sharp losses the previous session, while soybean
futures fell on projections for increased imports into the
United States.
    Weather took center stage for the corn market as traders
worried rains may prevent farmers from making progress in the
fields next week after low temperatures delayed the start of planting. "The thought is that whatever doesn't get planted here in the next five days may have to be planted around puddles," said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. Chicago Board of Trade May corn rose 2-1/4 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $4.90-3/4 a bushel by 10:15 a.m. CDT (1515 GMT), after sinking 1.3 percent on Monday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a weekly report issued after the markets closed on Monday, said 6 percent of the corn crop was planted. That was below the 9 percent expected by analysts and the average of 14 percent for that time of year. The slow start did not ignite a stronger rally because massive farm machinery allows growers to plant crops quickly once conditions improve, traders said. The first report on soybean planting is expected next week. CBOT May soybeans dropped 11 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $14.87-3/4 a bushel in a retreat from early gains. Driving prices lower were expectations for increased imports of soybeans or soymeal to ease tight U.S. supplies, traders said. "I think the goal of the market is to bring imports into the
U.S.," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. "That's happening both with meal and soybeans." WHEAT WEATHER WATCH Wheat traders were watching weather forecasts amid expectations for rains to help ease dryness in parts of the Great Plains, a key growing area. "The weather's improving,' Roose said. "I think that's No. 1." CBOT May wheat slipped 3-3/4 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $6.64-1/2 a bushel. The front-month contract on Monday closed down 3.3 percent, the biggest single-session slide in more than a year, on expectations of beneficial rainfall. "While there's rain in the forecast, exactly where it falls is very much questionable," Gerlach said. The USDA, its weekly crop-progress report, kept its good-to-excellent rating for the U.S. wheat crop unchanged at 34 percent. The move surprised some analysts who had expected a slight decline due to dryness last week. Prices at 10:15 a.m. CDT (1515 GMT) LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 490.50 2.00 0.4% 16.2% CBOT soy 1483.00 -15.75 -1.1% 13.0% CBOT meal 480.30 -5.40 -1.1% 9.7% CBOT soyoil 42.76 -0.24 -0.6% 10.1% CBOT wheat 664.00 -4.25 -0.6% 9.7% CBOT rice 1520.50 1.50 0.1% -2.0% EU wheat 213.25 -4.25 -2.0% 2.0% US crude 102.37 -2 -1.9% 4.0% Dow Jones 16,535 86 0.5% -0.2% Gold 1282.40 -7.14 -0.6% 6.4% Euro/dollar 1.3795 0.0004 0.0% 1.0% Dollar Index 79.9380 -0.0070 0.0% -0.1% Baltic Freight 939 9 1.0% -58.8% (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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