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GRAINS-Wheat climbs as drought persists, soybeans pressured

* Unwelcome dry weather in key U.S., Canadian, Russian wheat-growing areas

* Soybeans ease on pressure from broader commodity markets

* (Updates with closing prices, adds USDA crop conditions)

CHICAGO, July 19 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures gained on Monday, climbing to a 2-1/2- month high, supported by dry weather in parts of U.S., Canadian and Russian growing areas that raises global supply worries.

Soybeans eased after last week’s gains, pressured by broader losses in outside markets, though weather uncertainty underpins the oilseed.

Chicago Board of Trade most-active wheat gained 5-1/4 cents to $6.97-3/4 per bushel after reaching $7.09-1/2 per bushel, its highest since May 18.

Corn was up 1/4 cent at $5.52-1/4 per bushel, while soybeans lost 19 cents to $13.72-3/4 per bushel.

Wheat shook off outside pressure, as forecasts continue to call for hot temperatures and dry conditions in the northern U.S. Plains, where farmers may harvest the smallest spring wheat crop in 33 years.

Russia’s 2021 wheat crop expectations dropped following hot and dry weather in southern Russia, while Ukrainian wheat export prices rose last week on harvest uncertainty in the Black Sea region.

Soybeans fell, as recent beneficial rains improved the crop, though long-term dryness remains a threat.

“If there’s any prospect for improved weather, it’s going to have the most benefit for soybeans,” said Bill Lapp, ag economist at Advanced Economic Solutions.

Soybeans also felt pressure as outside markets turned lower on concerns of COVID resurgence, said Joe Davis, director of commodity sales at Futures International.

For the week ended July 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged the U.S. spring wheat crop as 11% good to excellent, down from 16% a week earlier and slightly below analysts’ expectations.

Corn was rated 65% good to excellent, 1 point below expectations, while soybeans were in line with analyst predictions.

Additionally, 63% of spring wheat was rated “poor” or “very poor,” up from 55% a week earlier.

“Last week, there was a pretty big move in the poor-to-very poor. We have a good-to-excellent that’s in the teens, so to gauge the moves, you look at the poor-to-very poor,” said Davis. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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