* U.S. corn exports well short of expectations
* Limited rains to aid U.S. corn, soy harvesting
* Wheat retreats on demand woes, firming dollar (Adds closing prices)
By Karl Plume
CHICAGO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures fell for a third straight session on Monday on forecasts for larger U.S. harvest yields and concerns about sluggish demand for American export shipments of the grain.
Wheat also declined as stiff competition in global export markets and a stronger dollar pressured prices.
Soybean futures, however, edged higher on growing hopes of a trade deal between Washington and Beijing and as firming crude oil markets lifted soybean oil prices.
Grain prices remain range-bound ahead of weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop data on Monday and the USDA’s monthly world supply-and-demand outlook on Friday.
Only light, scattered rains are expected across the U.S. Midwest farm belt this week, weather forecaster Maxar said on Monday. The drier weather should help corn and soybean farmers to make further progress harvesting this season’s delayed crops.
Analysts polled by Reuters believe 54% of corn and 75% of soybeans were harvested as of Sunday.
Demand concerns further weighed on corn after another week of disappointing export inspections.
Season-to-date corn inspections through last Thursday are down 62% from a year ago, and new sales have slumped, according to USDA data.
U.S. yield prospects, meanwhile, have stabilized.
“We are at the time of year when the window for the U.S. to start making sales usually opens up ... The longer it takes for that export window to open, the harder it’s going to take to catch up,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst for AgriVisor.
“It’s almost impossible to get corn to rally from that because right now, even if the yield holds unchanged, there’s a good chance that we could see higher carryout (supply) numbers just from the lack of demand.”
Chicago Board of Trade December wheat ended down 6 cents at $3.83-1/4 per bushel.
CBOT December wheat dropped 6-1/4 cents to $5.09-3/4 per bushel on persistent export market competition and as the U.S. dollar edged higher, making U.S. shipments costlier for those holding other currencies.
Soybeans posted modest gains, with January futures up 1-1/4 cents at $9.38 a bushel after the USDA reported weekly export inspections near the high end of trade forecasts.
Prospects for a trade deal with China also underpinned the market after top U.S. officials said last week that a preliminary deal appeared to be “in good shape.”
Improving South American soy planting weather limited price gains. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by Paul Simao and Matthew Lewis)