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GRAINS-Soybeans and corn steadies while wheat weakness remains

    * Soybeans consolidate after Thursday rout in oil and oilseeds
    * South America weather still in focus
    * Corn also steadies as China demand watched
    * Wheat eases again on improving crop conditions

 (Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline)
    By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral
    PARIS/SINGAPORE, March 19 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures steadied on
Friday after the previous day's slide triggered by some rain relief in Argentina
and a broad sell-off in oilseed and energy markets.
    Corn also edged higher after falling sharply on Thursday when tumbling oil
prices and a firm dollar encouraged the market to give back some of its gains
this week after large export sales to China. [
    Wheat ticked down as it remained pressured by generally favourable
conditions for northern hemisphere crops.
    The most active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
was up 0.4% at $13.97-1/24 a bushel by 1240 GMT.
    It earlier slipped to a two-week low at $13.90 but found chart support
around that level.
    Recent rain in Argentina that was expected to have averted further yield
losses for soybean crops has contributed to selling in oilseed markets this
week.
    However, Argentina's main farming region will receive little rain for the
rest of this month, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday.

    Argentina has seen "beneficial but heterogeneous rains", consultancy Agritel
said.
    Workers at the Argentine grains port hub of Rosario, meanwhile, will start a
24-hour strike on Friday morning to protest against layoffs at one of the
companies in the sector, a union official said on Thursday.
    CBOT corn was up 0.3% at $5.48 a bushel while wheat was down
0.3% at $6.28-1/2.
    Crude oil broadly stabilised on Friday after tumbling by about 7% on
Thursday on renewed concerns about a demand hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crude oil influences crop markets because of the use of grain in biofuel.
    "A bearish tone descended across commodity markets as investors continue to
readjust their expectations of demand," ANZ bank said in a note.
    Traders were also monitoring news from a meeting between high-level U.S. and
Chinese officials on Thursday.
    
    
    
 Prices at 1240 GMT                                                
                               Last  Chang    Pct      End  Ytd Pct
                                         e   Move     2020     Move
  CBOT wheat                 628.50  -2.00  -0.32   640.50    -1.87
  CBOT corn                  548.00   1.50   0.27   484.00    13.22
  CBOT soy                  1397.50   5.25   0.38  1311.00     6.60
  Paris wheat May            218.75  -1.75  -0.79   210.50     3.92
  Paris maize Jun            215.50   0.00   0.00   198.75     8.43
  Paris rape May             502.75  -2.25  -0.45   412.00    22.03
  WTI crude oil               59.80  -0.20  -0.33    48.52    23.25
  Euro/dlr                     1.19   0.00  -0.13   1.2100    -1.65
 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris
 futures in euros per tonne
 
    

 (Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore
Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and David Goodman)
  
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