* U.S. weekly sales bigger than expected
* Corn gains limited after China rejects U.S. DDGS -Xinhua
* Wheat eases under plentiful supplies
(Adds quotes on export sales, U.S. weather, previous dateline LONDON)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybeans rose on Friday, regaining some of their losses from steep drops a day earlier, as offshore demand looked stronger than expected.
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat dipped slightly, holding just above the prior session's 6-1/2 month low as plentiful supplies kept the market on the defensive.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on Friday better-than-expected weekly export sales of U.S. corn and soybeans.
Net sales for the 2013/14 marketing year of nearly 1.5 million tonnes of corn far exceeded trade estimates, while soybean exports of more than 720,000 tonnes also topped expectations.
"Exports are providing a bit of support," said Terry Linn, broker at the Linn Group in Chicago. "The big number in the corn exports is giving you a bit of a pop here."
CBOT March corn rose 0.3 percent or 1-1/4 cents to $4.27-1/2 a bushel at 9:34 a.m. CST (1534 GMT) but remained on course for a weekly loss of around 1.3 percent. Corn's gains were limited as China's quality watchdog confirmed it has rejected two cargoes of dried distillers grains (DDGs) from the United States after detecting the presence of a genetically modified (GMO) strain not yet approved by Beijing, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.
"We are seeing a bit of correction in corn today after a heavy sell-off on Thursday," a Sydney-based grains trader said. But "the market is on edge as to any signs of further rejected shipments (by China)," the trader said.
CBOT January soybeans gained 0.4 percent or 4-3/4 cents to $13.23-1/2 a bushel.
They were headed for a weekly loss of about 1.2 percent. Improving weather in soybean-growing areas of South America and prospects for slower soymeal demand tied to China's rejection of U.S. DDGs hung over the market.
March wheat on the Chicago Board of Trade slipped 0.2 percent or 1-1/4 cents to $6.04-3/4 a bushel. The contract slumped to a low of $6.00-3/4 on Thursday, the weakest level for the front month since mid-May 2012, and was headed toward a fourth straight weekly loss.
"There is plenty of (wheat) supply but those markets which have the demand have been sustained," one European broker said, referring to the widening premium for Paris over Chicago wheat.
USDA reported wheat sales of nearly 597,000 tonnes for the current 2013/14 marketing year, higher than expected, but down from the prior week's 656,100 tonnes.
Temperatures are expected to plunge early next week in the U.S. Midwest, but the coldest areas will be outside of the core winter wheat belt, agricultural meteorologist Andy Karst of World Weather Inc. said on Friday.
Prices at 9:34 a.m. CST (1534 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG
CBOT corn 427.50 1.25 0.3% -38.8% CBOT soy 1323.50 4.75 0.4% -6.7% CBOT meal 442.80 1.80 0.4% 5.3% CBOT soyoil 38.88 0.01 0.0% -20.9% CBOT wheat 604.75 -1.25 -0.2% -22.3% CBOT rice 1544.00 0.00 0.0% 3.9% EU wheat 209.25 -1.75 -0.8% -16.4% US crude 100.25 0.7 0.7% 9.2% Dow Jones 16,488 8 0.1% 25.8% Gold 1215.80 5.50 0.5% -27.4% Euro/dollar 1.3793 0.0102 0.7% 4.5% Dollar Index 80.0860 -0.3980 -0.5% 0.4% Baltic Freight 2277 30 1.3% 225.8%
(Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Nigel Hunt in London and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Anthony Barker and Meredith Mazzilli)