* Largest weekly U.S. soymeal exports since 2003
* Short-covering in wheat, soy ahead of USDA report (Updates prices)
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures hit their highest since October on Monday after data showed the largest weekly U.S. soymeal sales in about 13 years.
Wheat also edged higher as investors, returning after the Good Friday holiday, covered short positions ahead of U.S. Department of Agriculture reports later this week.
The USDA will release on Thursday its quarterly U.S. grain stocks as of March 1 and prospective planting report based on conditions as of the same date.
“I‘m not seeing a lot of direction for the market,” said Kaname Gokon at the Okato Shoji brokerage in Tokyo. “There is some short-covering on wheat and soy ahead of the USDA report.”
While some Asian buyers are back, investors elsewhere, including Australia and London are still away for the Easter holidays.
The most-active soybean contract, for May delivery, on the Chicago Board of Trade touched a session high of $9.14-3/4 a bushel, its strongest since Oct. 15, before trading flat at $9.10 by 0618 GMT.
USDA data showed old-crop weekly export sales of 468,710 tonnes, the biggest since October 2003.
Private exporters also reported sales of 304,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations, including 214,000 tonnes for delivery during the 2015/2016 marketing year and 90,000 for 2016/17 delivery, the USDA said on Friday.
U.S. corn export sales at 803,200 tonnes were below analyst estimates, while soybean and wheat exports were largely in line with expectations.
CBOT wheat gained 0.4 percent to $4.65 a bushel and corn was off 0.3 percent at $3.69.
Gokon said concerns over cold weather helped push wheat futures higher.
Cold weather likely damaged some developing wheat plants in dry portions of the southwestern Great Plains, potentially reducing yields at the summer harvest. (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Joseph Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)