By P.J. Huffstutter
CHICAGO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures firmed on Monday on bargain buying and a weaker U.S. dollar .DXY, but remained near multi-year lows as nearby contracts struggled to shake off technical resistance, traders said.
Corn futures inched up on consolidation and technical buying, as news of weekly U.S. export inspections was in the higher range of trade expectations.
But timely and widespread rains in Argentina over the weekend, and the expectation of a larger South American corn crop, weighed over the market.
Consultancy AgRural on Monday raised its forecast of Brazil's 2023/24 second-crop corn production to 91.2 million tons, from 86.3 million tons previously, citing larger plantings than initially estimated.
And wheat futures were mostly lower as weak export demand and ongoing competition from the Black Sea continued to pressure markets.
Soybeans and corn last week hit three-year lows after the U.S. Department of Agriculture trimmed its Brazilian soy harvest forecast by less than expected and raised its global supply projection to the highest on record.
Several traders said they expected the market to move more on weather and supply concerns early this week, as demand from China and other Asian countries was expected to be low during the Lunar New Year holidays.
On Monday, the markets were particularly focused on South American weather, said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.
"So you might be asking why is the market buying beans, and not corn?" Zuzolo said. "It's where the rain fell. There were some pretty large holes in southern Brazil that didn't see rain," and could be seeing stressed crops.
The trade was also preparing for this week's U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual Outlook Forum, and particularly any adjustments the agency could make to its planted corn and soybean acreage projections.
Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybeans Sv1 settled up 9-1/2 cents at $11.93 per bushel. Corn Cv1 closed up 1-1/2 cents at $4.30-1/2 a bushel, while wheat Wv1 closed up 3/4-cent at $5.97-1/2 per bushel.
(Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Peter Hobson in Canberra; editing by Janane Venkatraman, Susan Fenton, Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)
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