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GRAINS-U.S. corn, soybeans firmer as concerns about crops rise

(Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, changes byline, dateline; previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)

CHICAGO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures rose on Monday on expectations that a government report will show crop ratings deteriorated in the past week, underpinning recent forecasts that pegged the harvest below the U.S. Agriculture Department’s latest outlook.

A spate of dryness across the U.S. Midwest, combined with a severe wind storm that damaged crops across key parts of Iowa, have reduced crop potential following near-perfect conditions through July.

“Rains are due this upcoming weekend, but that should be too late for ear fill on the corn, and most agronomists are saying that damage has been done to beans, so rains in a week will just stabilize the crop,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital, said in a note.

Wheat futures were slightly lower, retreating from a one-month peak hit during the overnight trading session, on profit-taking.

At 9:56 a.m. CDT (1456 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December corn futures were up 2-3/4 cents at $3.43-1/4 a bushel. CBOT November soybeans were 1-1/4 cents higher at $9.06 a bushel.

Advisory service Pro Farmer on Friday projected U.S. corn and soybean harvests will be below the USDA forecasts, with a corn crop of 14.820 billion bushels based on an average yield of 177.5 bushels per acre and a soybean crop of 4.362 billion bushels based on an average yield of 52.5 bushels per acre.

The USDA will release its weekly crop progress and condition report on Monday at 3 p.m. CDT (1500 GMT).

“U.S. storm damage and Chinese demand are supporting corn prices,” said Phin Ziebell, an agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

CBOT December wheat futures were down 1-1/4 cents at $5.33-3/4 a bushel

The most-active wheat contract has risen in the seven previous sessions, gaining 8.9% during the streak. (Aditional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, David Evans and Dan Grebler)

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