CHICAGO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures rose nearly 4% on Tuesday, rebounding from life-of-contract lows as a softer dollar and the approach of the spring growing season in the northern hemisphere sparked a short-covering rally, analysts said.

CBOT corn and soybeans also closed higher but hovered near multi-year lows.

Benchmark May wheat settled up 20-1/4 cents, or 3.6%, at $5.79-1/4 per bushel, bouncing after hitting a contract low at $5.53-1/2.

CBOT March corn ended up 2-1/4 cents at $4.18-3/4 a bushel after a dip to $4.14-3/4, the lowest since December 2020 on a continuous chart of the most-active contract. March soybeans finished up 6-3/4 cents at $11.79 a bushel.

Ample global grain stocks and weak demand for U.S. supplies have pressured CBOT corn, wheat and soy futures for months, encouraging speculators to build large net short positions. But attention is starting to shift to the U.S. growing season and weather risks, at a time of heightened political tensions.

"Geopolitical risks remain elevated, leaving fund managers worried about their big short positions," StoneX chief commodity analyst Arlan Suderman said in a note to clients.

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week released forecasts that projected rising stockpiles of U.S. grains, "maybe we have reached peak bad news ... maybe we have just pushed the fund shorts as far as we can," said Sterling Smith, director of agricultural research at AgriSompo North America.

Some traders attributed the strength in CBOT wheat to expectations of new U.S. sanctions against Russia, the world's biggest wheat exporter. The United States will announce a package of sanctions against Russia on Friday over the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the two-year Ukraine war, President Joe Biden said.

Meanwhile, corn traders were digesting news that the White House will approve a request from a group of Midwest governors to allow year-round sales of gasoline with higher blends of corn-based ethanol, but will push the start date into next year.

On the export front, the USDA confirmed private sales of 155,000 metric tons of new-crop U.S. corn to Japan and 228,000 tons of old-crop U.S. soymeal to the Philippines. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; editing by Barbara Lewis and Sonali Paul)