May 14, 2018 / 7:36 PM / 7 months ago

GRAINS-U.S. soy futures rise as trade fears ease; wheat weakens again

(Updates with closing prices, adds analyst quote)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose 1.5 percent on Monday, bouncing back from their lowest in more than five weeks on a round of technical buying and signs that Chinese demand for export supplies was picking up, traders said.

Wheat futures dropped, their fourth straight losing session, falling through key technical support points to hit their lowest since April 26. Corn futures were flat.

Soybean futures sagged to their lowest since April 4 during overnight trading following a 1.3 percent drop on Friday.

"We got a little too low a little too quick," said Mark Schultz, chief analyst at Minnesota-based Northstar Commodity Investment Co.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybean futures closed up 14-1/2 cents at $10.17-3/4 a bushel.

The U.S. Agriculture Department reported weekly soybean export inspections of 688,195 tonnes. Analysts had forecast 450,000 tonnes to 650,000 tonnes and included 128,688 tonnes of supplies headed to China.

Traders also cited hopes that Chinese soybean purchases would pick up amid signs of easing trade tensions with the world's largest buyer of the oilseed.

U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help Chinese Technology company ZTE Corp. Sources said China was willing in principle to import more U.S. agriculture products in return for Washington smoothing out penalties against ZTE, but they did not offer details.

"The president's move here on the Chinese electronics company is seen as a concession that could help move forward some of these trade negotiations that are set to resume this week," said Terry Linn, analyst with Linn & Associates.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures ended 7-1/2 cents lower at $4.91-1/4 a bushel.

After reaching multimonth highs at the start of May amid concern about dry weather in the U.S. Plains and other major wheat-producing regions worldwide, Chicago prices have been dampened by the government's bigger-than-anticipated forecast of this year's U.S. wheat crop on May 10 and the return of rain to parts of the U.S. Plains.

"Some fundamental investors will no doubt have taken profits," Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said of wheat.

K.C. hard red winter wheat for July delivery, which tracks the crop being grown in the Plains, were off 1.5 percent, their seventh straight session of declines.

CBOT July corn futures ended unchanged at $3.96-1/2 a bushel. (Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)

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