GRAINS-Soybeans firm, set for biggest two-week gain in 9 months

* Soybeans rise for seventh straight session
    * Soybeans on course for biggest two-week jump since August
2012
    * Wheat steady after biggest single-session rise in two
weeks

    By Colin Packham
    SYDNEY, May 24 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans rose for a seventh
straight session on Friday as the oilseed closed in on its
biggest two-week gain in nearly nine months as tight old-crop
stocks and continued strong demand underpinned gains.
    Corn edged lower for the first time in three sessions, while
wheat held steady after surging more than 2 percent in the
previous session.
    Chicago Board of Trade July soybeans rose 0.33 percent
	
to $15.04-1/2 a bushel, having closed up 0.35 percent in the previous session. Soybeans are on course to finish the week up 3.85 percent, the largest gain since August 24, 2012. Two-week gains hit 7.5 percent, the largest two-week surge since the end of August 2012. Soybean prices have risen due to tight U.S. old-crop stocks, but traders said it was not yet clear if prices would rise further or buyers would look to sellers in South America, which has been hit by logistical problems. "Soybean export sales are still running at decent levels out of the U.S. .... they can not continue to make old-crop sales at this rate," said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist, ANZ. July corn fell 0.3 percent to $6.60 a bushel, having gained 0.53 percent in the previous session. Corn is poised to finish the week up 1.1 percent, rising for a second straight week. July wheat was little changed at $7.03-3/4 a bushel, having closed up 2.1 percent on Wednesday, and is on course to finish the week up 3 percent. TIGHT STOCKS The U.S. Department of Agriculture said 183,500 tonnes of 2012/13 soybeans were sold in the current marketing year, with a further 193,800 tonnes from the 2013/14 marketing year.
Fears of tight stocks were stoked by a port strike in Argentina, despite the four-day labour dispute coming to an end. The strike, and lengthy vessel backups at other South American ports, raised concerns that some global demand could shift to the United States where supplies were forecast to shrink to a nine-year low before the autumn harvest. Wheat shrugged off pressure from corn to remain steady on Friday after posting its biggest single-day rise in the previous session in two-weeks. Analysts said wheat drew support from technical buying and short-covering, though uncertainty also lingers over the condition of the U.S. winter crop. Grains prices at 0319 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 703.75 0.50 +0.07% +2.21% 704.05 59 CBOT corn 660.00 -2.00 -0.30% +0.23% 642.08 47 CBOT soy 1504.50 5.00 +0.33% +0.69% 1403.26 63 CBOT rice $15.55 -$0.01 -0.06% +1.34% $15.35 66 WTI crude $94.07 -$0.18 -0.19% -0.22% $93.19 43 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.292 -$0.002 -0.14% +0.47% USD/AUD 0.967 -0.008 -0.86% -0.30% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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