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GRAINS-Prices ease after surge to multi-year highs

    * Corn falls after near eight-year highs
    * Soybeans, wheat also ease after near seven-year peaks
    * Fund flows contributed to daily limit gains on Thursday
    * Weather risks, China demand keep focus on global supply

 (Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline)
    By Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral
    PARIS/SINGAPORE, April 23 (Reuters) - Chicago corn, wheat
and soybeans fell on Friday but were set for big weekly gains
after weather-fuelled supply concerns supported multi-year
highs.
    Adverse growing weather in North and South America has
focused attention on tightening availability of grain,
encouraging investment fund buying that supported daily-limit
gains for some Chicago contracts on Thursday.
    The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade
(CBOT) was down 1.0% at $6.25 a bushel by 1131 GMT. 
    It earlier rose to $6.35, its highest since June 2014 and
over the week was up 6.7%, heading for a fourth weekly rise.
    CBOT soybeans ticked down 0.2% to $15.10-3/4 after
climbing on Thursday to $15.24, its highest since May 2014.
    Wheat also eased back after a near seven-year peak a day
earlier, trading down 1.2% at $7.02 a bushel.
    Soybeans were up 5.4% so far this week and wheat 7.2%.
    Analysts say fund flows and short-covering in the run-up to
the expiry of May futures amplified gains this week.
    "The long positions held in corn are unprecedented, and
could be reversed at any time, which would lead to a sharp drop
in prices if weather conditions improve," consultancy Agritel
said.
    A U.S. cold spell this week and dryness in Brazil have
raised doubts about corn harvest prospects in the world's two
biggest exporters of the feed grain at a time of growing Chinese
import demand.
    Harvest expectations in No. 3 corn exporter Argentina,
however, have risen due to good conditions in Cordoba province.

    Wheat is seen as having more comfortable global supplies,
but tensions in corn are expected to spark more use of wheat in
feed.
    Chinese buyers are thought to have booked at least half a
million tonnes of new-crop French wheat, which may be partly
used in feed, traders said.
    Commenting on the corn market, Tobin Gorey, director of
agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said:
"The ongoing issues of China's demand and Brazil's supply
continue to boost the market."
    "Added to that are signs that U.S. ethanol demand (is)
recovering," he said.
    Biofuel demand has also contributed to tensions in oilseed
markets, which supply feedstocks for biodiesel.
    Front-month CBOT soybean oil extended gains on Friday
to 63.5 cents per lb, another highest in almost 13 years.
    
    
 Prices at 1131 GMT                                                  
                               Last  Change    Pct      End   Ytd Pct
                                              Move     2020      Move
  CBOT wheat                 702.00   -8.50  -1.20   640.50      9.60
  CBOT corn                  625.00   -6.50  -1.03   484.00     29.13
  CBOT soy                  1510.75   -3.50  -0.23  1311.00     15.24
  Paris wheat May            237.00   -1.50  -0.63   210.50     12.59
  Paris maize Jun            231.00   -2.75  -1.18   198.75     16.23
  Paris rape May             593.50   -1.75  -0.29   412.00     44.05
  WTI crude oil               61.60    0.17   0.28    48.52     26.96
  Euro/dlr                     1.21    0.00   0.36   1.2100     -0.35
 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 Subhranshu Sahu and Edmund Blair)
  
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