U.S. corn/soybeans held back by dollar, wheat up

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. corn and soybeans futures were flat in early Asian trading on Friday, as traders assessed the currency impact of a weaker U.S. dollar against the euro, while the greenback made modest gains against other currencies such as the yen.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) corn for May delivery, the most actively traded contract, eased 0.07 percent to $7.36- per bushel, retreating from a near 32-month high as traders took some profits.

Soybeans for May delivery were slightly stronger, edging up 0.19 percent to $14.14- per bushel as supplies from Brazil’s harvest offset near-term supply constraints in the United States, the world’s top soybeans exporter

Wheat for May delivery rose 0.85 percent to $8.30-1/2 per bushel, supported by a generally weak dollar and some weather concerns about the U.S. winter crop.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Corn futures rallied on Thursday as U.S. sales topped 1 million tonnes for a fifth straight week.

* Wheat rose with corn, aided by a drop in the dollar to its lowest level since November and ideas the market was undersold relative to other grains.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said weekly sales of U.S. corn surpassed 1 million tonnes for a fifth week, matching the longest such streak since late 2007 as importers scrambled for supplies amid tightening stocks.

* Analysts expect U.S. corn sales to slow in the coming weeks, but USDA has projected corn stocks to drop to a 15-year low by the end of the marketing year on August 31.

* Wheat rose on Thursday as the dollar softened and investors fretted about persistent dry weather in the western Plains, with high winds forecast to aggravate dry soil conditions next week.

MARKETS

* Investors betting on a big gain in U.S. payrolls pushed Wall Street to its best one-day rally in three months on Thursday, but weak volume lingers as a concern for those hoping for another leg higher. The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: Quote, Profile, Research) was up 191.40 points, or 1.59 percent, at 12,258.20 (.N: Quote, Profile, Research)

* An explosive rally in the euro took a breather early in Asia on Friday ahead of influential U.S. jobs data, but the single currency is set to stay bid after the European Central Bank signaled an interest rate hike as early as next month. The euro jumped to a near four-month highs of $1.3976 and last traded at $1.3959

* Oil prices fell from near 2-1/2-year highs on Thursday as traders took profits after Venezuela pitched a plan to resolve the Libyan crisis, even though the market was deeply skeptical about whether it would work. U.S. crude futures for April settled at $101.91

(Reporting by Bruce Hextall; Editing by Ed Davies)