GRAINS-U.S. wheat rises on bargain buying bounce; soybeans fall

* Soybeans fall on improving crop prospects

* Rain forecast also limits gains in corn futures

* Signs of wheat export demand lends additional support (Updates with closing U.S. prices, adds details)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – U.S. wheat futures rose 1.4 percent on Wednesday, rebounding from contract lows hit on Tuesday on a round of bargain buying and signs of overseas demand, traders said.

Corn futures firmed slightly, with bargain hunting and short covering providing a base of support following a 1.7 percent decline on Tuesday.

Soybeans dropped, led lower by new-crop contracts as the latest weather forecasts boosted the amounts of rainfall expected during key periods of development for the crop in the U.S. Midwest.

Chicago Board of Trade September wheat futures settled up 7-1/4 cents at $5.27-1/4 a bushel.

“Wheat is seeing a correction upwards after falling to contract lows on Tuesday,” Frank Rijkers, agrifood economist at ABN AMRO Bank. “There is also some background concern about the rain in parts of Europe during harvest time, which may have caused some damage to the quality of wheat harvests in the large exporters France and Germany.”

The wheat market also received support from the U.S. Agriculture Department’s announcement that private exporters sold 202,500 tonnes of U.S. wheat to Nigeria.

CBOT September corn ended 1/4 cent higher at $3.61-3/4 a bushel. Spillover weakness from the soybean market and expectations of a bumper corn crop in the United States kept the gains in check.

“Oversold markets are ripe for some consolidation, but there’s no sign the bottom is in for this market yet,” said Bryce Knorr, senior editor at Farm Futures Magazine.

CBOT August soybeans were 6 cents lower at $12.20-1/2 a bushel while new-crop November, the most actively traded soy contract, dropped 13-3/4 cents to $10.81-1/4 a bushel.

“The current bean crop (is) standing to benefit the most from potentially solid Midwest rains next week,” said Matt Zeller, director of market information at INTL FCStone. “It is still the best-rated crop in 20 years, with a strong chance for record acreage/yields/production and a massive stockpile rebuild in one explosive season.”

Forecasts for rain in the U.S. Midwest next week alleviated concerns that dryness could reduce harvest prospects for both corn and soybeans.

Prices at 1:49 p.m. CDT (1849 GMT)                             
                              LAST      NET    PCT     YTD
                                        CHG    CHG     CHG
 CBOT corn                  361.00     0.25   0.1%  -14.5%
 CBOT soy                  1222.25    -6.00  -0.5%   -6.9%
 CBOT meal                  388.00    -7.80  -2.0%  -11.4%
 CBOT soyoil                 36.12    -0.20  -0.6%   -7.0%
 CBOT wheat                 527.25     7.25   1.4%  -12.9%
 CBOT rice                 1296.50   -16.00  -1.2%  -16.4%
 EU wheat                   175.25     0.25   0.1%  -16.1%
 US crude                    99.92    -1.05  -1.0%    1.5%
 Dow Jones                  16,868      -44  -0.3%    1.8%
 Gold                      1295.41    -2.69  -0.2%    7.5%
 Euro/dollar                1.3394  -0.0015  -0.1%   -1.9%
 Dollar Index              81.4000   0.1860   0.2%    1.7%
 Baltic Freight                754        7   0.9%  -66.9%
In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and
soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel,
rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb.

 (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen
Thukral in Singapore Editing by W Simon and Meredith Mazzilli)

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