May 28, 2019 / 6:39 AM / a year ago

GRAINS-Corn climbs to near 2-year high on U.S. planting delays

    * Corn hits highest since July 2017 on U.S. planting delays
    * Wheat rises to highest since Feb., soybean up for 2nd day

 (Adds charts, updates prices)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, May 28 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose more
than 2% on Tuesday, climbing to a near 2-year high as forecasts
for heavy rains across key U.S. growing areas threatened to
further delay planting.
    Wheat rose to its highest since February, driven up by
short-covering while soybeans gained for a second session.
    The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade 
 was up 2.4% at $4.13-3/4 a bushel by 0317 GMT, near the
session high of $4.14-3/4 a bushel - its highest since July 11,
    Wheat rose 2.4% to $5.01-1/4 a bushel, after climbing
to its highest since Feb. 19 at $5.03-1/4 a bushel and soybeans
 were up 1.8% at $8.44-1/2 a bushel.
    Above-normal rainfall is expected across most of the Midwest
and Plains farm belt over the next 15 days, further delaying
planting of corn and soybeans and potentially damaging the
quality of the developing winter wheat crop, forecasters said.  
    "We are seeing pretty strong gains in corn and beans as
planting delays are getting serious," said Phin Ziebell, an
agribusiness economist at National Australia Bank. "The market
is getting worried about planting delays and rain for sure."
    The most active contract is expected to surge 7% to
$4.40-3/4 over the next one or two weeks, as it is riding on a
fierce wave C, according to Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst
for commodities technicals.
    Once corn stands firm above $4.40-3/4, a 23.6% retracement,
a more bullish target at $5.82 will be established, as indicated
by a double-bottom.
    U.S. grains markets were closed on Monday for the Memorial
Day holiday. 
    In Asia, the grain markets are getting concerned about
spreading armyworm in top consumer China. 
    China has found destructive armyworm in corn crops in the
eastern province of Jiangsu, state media reported late Monday.
The destructive pest has now spread to 15 provinces and regions
since it was first detected in the southwestern province of
Yunnan in early January.
    Large speculators sharply reduced their net long position in
CBOT corn futures in the week to May 21, the U.S. Commodity
Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.
    The speculators also cut their net short positions in CBOT
soybean and wheat futures, the data showed.
 Grains prices at 0626 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  501.25  11.75    +2.40%   +6.59%       451.27  81
 CBOT corn   413.75  9.50     +2.35%   +6.16%       371.65  84
 CBOT soy    844.50  14.75    +1.78%   +2.80%       848.13  61
 CBOT rice   11.61   $0.05    +0.48%   +0.52%       $10.89  93
 WTI crude   59.28   $0.65    +1.11%   +2.37%       $62.64  
 Euro/dlr    $1.118  -$0.001  -0.13%   -0.18%               
 USD/AUD     0.6924  0.001    +0.10%   +0.01%               

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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