GRAINS-Corn, soybeans dip as U.S. rains boost crop prospects

* Heavy rains seen as beneficial to crops, despite some flooding

* Traders await weekly U.S. crop condition ratings

* Egypt buys Russian, Romanian wheat in tender (Updates with U.S. trading, changes dateline from PARIS/SYDNEY)

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, June 23 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures fell on Monday after topping a two-week high as expectations for a massive harvest in the United States overshadowed concerns that some areas had received too much rain.

Losses in the corn market dragged down soybean futures, traders said, while wheat futures slumped after top importer Egypt snubbed the United States in a weekend tender.

Wet weather during the weekend set the stage for declines in corn and soybeans as analysts said crops should ultimately benefit from the moisture. Some areas have received too much rain, causing flooding and localized crop damage.

Some analysts expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a weekly crop report due at 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT) Monday, to reduce its ratings for corn and soybean conditions.

However, rains have “put a far larger part of the growing area into very good conditions,” said Sterling Smith, futures specialist for Citi in Chicago.

Front-month corn fell 2 percent, or 9 cents, to $4.44-1/4 a bushel by 10:25 a.m. CDT (1525 GMT) at the Chicago Board of Trade. The contract pulled back after touching a session high of $4.57-3/4, a level last reached on June 6.

Spot soybeans dropped 0.5 percent, or 7-1/4 cents, to $14.08-1/2 a bushel, off the session high of $14.34-1/2, which was a one-week peak.

A better-than-expected reading for factory activity in China helped underpin soybeans as the data reassured traders about demand from the world’s top importer of the oilseed, traders said.

“Any time you have good economic news out of China, it’s friendly to soybeans because they’re such big importers,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading in Fowler, Indiana.

Egypt said on Saturday that it had bought 180,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat for shipment Aug. 1-10 and none from the United States.

“Russian new-crop prices were seen easing in the last week, and this serves to further highlight the big supplies and tight competition that is currently dominating the wheat market,” Smith said.

Spot wheat was down 1.2 percent, or 6-3/4 cents, at $5.78-1/2 a bushel.

Prices at 10:25 a.m. CDT (1525 GMT)                  
                              LAST      NET    PCT    
                                        CHG    CHG    
 CBOT corn                  444.75    -8.50  -1.9%    
 CBOT soy                  1407.00    -8.75  -0.6%    
 CBOT meal                  451.70    -7.50  -1.6%    
 CBOT soyoil                 40.50     0.37   0.9%    
 CBOT wheat                 579.75    -5.50  -0.9%   
 (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney;
Editing by William Hardy and Lisa Von Ahn)

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