GRAINS-Wheat steadies after new 5-month low; export data eyed
* Chicago wheat inches up, 4 pct slide since USDA report
* Corn edges down, soy hesitant on US budget worries
* Coming Up: US weekly grain/soy export sales; 1330 GMT
(Recasts with European trading, changes dateline from SINGAPORE)
PARIS/SINGAPORE, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures steadied on Thursday after sliding to five-month lows this week on bigger-than-expected forecasts for stocks, with the market looking for fresh impetus from weekly export data later in the day.
A subdued mood across markets, as investors worried about the absence of a federal budget deal in the United States, limited the recovery in wheat and pushed corn slightly lower.
Wheat for March delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade edged up 0.3 percent to $8.14 by 1229 GMT. It earlier hit a new five-month low at $8.07.
U.S. export sales data due at 1330 GMT will give a new indication of demand for U.S. grains after slow exports contributed to a larger-than-anticipated U.S. government forecast of wheat stocks on Tuesday, which sent prices tumbling.
"The recent slide in U.S. values has improved its price competitiveness and should help support stronger U.S. export sales in the coming months," Commonwealth Bank of Australia said in a note.
Traders forecast U.S. wheat export sales last week at between 350,000 and 550,000 tonnes versus 353,100 tonnes in the prior week.
Wheat has lost more than 4 percent since Tuesday when the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate for U.S. 2012/13 wheat ending stocks to 754 million bushels, 50 million bushels more than its November estimate and exceeding market expectations.
"If you look at the wheat market, it's been extremely range-bound over the last five months. Funds were long, so what we're seeing is a bit of technical selling and funds liquidating," said Paul Deane, agricultural economist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
In Europe, Paris wheat futures also steadied, with benchmark March milling wheat unchanged at 260.00 euros to hold a psychological support level.
Despite the technical pressure created during this week's slide, analysts said tight supply fundamentals were still supportive for wheat.
French-based Strategie Grains on Thursday raised its forecast for European Union soft wheat exports this season to 18.8 million tonnes, citing reduced supply from rival exporter Argentina and strong demand from Iran.
"Given the finely balanced state of the market (there is absolutely no room for EU wheat to attract any additional demand), the price outlook in the EU remains bullish, especially given the global context, which is also bullish," it said.
CBOT corn dropped 0.2 percent to $7.23-3/4 per bushel, near Wednesday's trough of $7.19, the lowest in almost a month. March soybeans were flat at $14.70-1/2 after coming off a slight earlier fall.
Traders waited to see whether the weekly export sales numbers would show a pickup in demand for U.S. corn and whether Chinese appetite for soybeans remained robust.
Corn export sales are seen rebounding to between 100,000 and 300,000 tonnes from 47,400 tonnes, the smallest in eight weeks.
U.S. export sales of soybeans were seen ranging from 600,000 to 850,000 tonnes after topping 1.1 million tonnes in the last reported week, the biggest in nine weeks, helped by strong demand from top buyer China.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Valerie Parent in Paris and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Jane Baird)