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GRAINS-Wheat set for biggest weekly gain in 3 months on short-covering

    * 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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