* Wheat up nearly 3 pct this week, biggest since early Dec * Corn eyes biggest weekly gain since early Jan on planting delays (Adds details, quote) By Naveen Thukral SINGAPORE, March 15 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures ticked lower on Friday, giving up some of last session's gains, but the market is set for its biggest weekly gain in more than three months on short-covering. Corn is set to finish the week on a positive note after two weeks of losses, while soybeans are up marginally this week. The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade is up 2.7 percent this week, set for its biggest rally since the week ended Dec. 7. Traders are covering large short positions in wheat, supporting prices, even though there are ample world supplies. Corn received support amid concerns that cold soils and muddy fields could hamper farmers' early planting efforts. The weather also might limit growers' ability to add much-needed fertilizer to corn fields ahead of planting. But traders said it was too early to get worried. "There is still time for corn planting, it is bit early to get too worried," said a trader at an international trading company in Singapore. "It is more of short-covering which is supporting prices in the wheat market." U.S. wheat export sales came in at 346,000 tonnes, below forecasts that ranged from 450,000 tonnes to 750,000 tonnes, while corn export sales of 846,600 tonnes were near the low end of trade forecasts. Weekly U.S. soybean exports of 1.915 million tonnes were near the top end of expectations, after large sales to China reported in recent days, according to a U.S. Agriculture Department report released on Thursday morning. Soybeans drew support as U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was doing very well in trade talks with China, but that he could not say whether a final deal would be reached. CBOT corn is up 1.7 percent for the week after closing 2.3 percent down in the previous week, and soybeans have added half a percent this week, set for the biggest weekly since late Jan. Argentina's soybean harvest will likely be 54 million tonnes in the 2018/19 season, an increase from the previous estimate of 52 million tonnes, the Rosario grains exchange said late Wednesday, a boost for one of the world's key grains exporters. The exchange also increased its projected corn harvest estimate to 47.3 million tonnes from 46.5 million tonnes previously. Grains prices at 0329 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 451.50 -1.25 -0.28% -0.33% 486.55 13 CBOT corn 370.50 0.25 +0.07% +1.30% 378.13 33 CBOT soy 900.25 1.75 +0.19% +0.36% 916.88 39 CBOT rice 10.73 -$0.03 -0.23% -0.05% $10.57 60 WTI crude 58.60 -$0.01 -0.02% +0.58% $55.72 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.132 $0.007 +0.64% +0.72% USD/AUD 0.7083 0.001 +0.20% +0.54% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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