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GRAINS-U.S. soy, wheat, corn firm on export demand, soyoil strength

(New throughout; updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline from previous PARIS/SINGAPORE) CHICAGO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures firmed on Thursday on supportive export demand and light bargain buying following a three-day slide, along with renewed optimism about demand for soy-based biodiesel fuel, analysts said. Wheat and corn rose on light technical buying and bullish weekly export sales data. Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures settled up 2-1/4 cents at $9.86-1/2 per bushel. CBOT December wheat ended up 2-3/4 cents at $4.32-3/4 a bushel and December corn finished up 1/2 cent at $3.49 a bushel. Soybeans drew support after the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed through its daily reporting system that private exporters sold 384,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, the world's biggest soy buyer. Weekly U.S. soybean export sales, at 1.275 million tonnes, fell below trade estimates. But weekly soymeal and soyoil sales exceeded expectations. "Ongoing Chinese interest for U.S. soybeans and better-than-expected weekly U.S. wheat, corn, soybean meal and soybean oil export sales fuelled today's strength," Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis, wrote in a note to clients. The benchmark December soyoil contract rose 0.42 cent, or 1.3 percent, to 33.83 cents per pound. It was spurred governor of Iowa on Wednesday that he was committed to renewable fuels. Soyoil is the main feedstock for biodiesel fuel. "President Trump's statement indicating the mandates on biofuels will not be lowered fuelled today's recovery in soybean oil futures," Cekander wrote. A group of 22 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter on Thursday not to lower some requirements for mixing biofuels into the country's fuel supply. CBOT wheat firmed on strong U.S. export sales of more than 615,000 tonnes, the biggest weekly tally in two months. Also, commodity funds hold a sizable net short position in CBOT wheat, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of short-covering. Corn closed marginally higher, paring gains in the final minutes of trade. The ongoing harvest of a large U.S. crop amid mostly dry weather in the Midwest this week hung over the market, capping rallies.

CBOT settlement prices:

Net Pct Volume

Last change change

CBOT wheat Wc1 432.75 2.75 0.6 52412 CBOT corn Cc1 349.00 0.50 0.1 117908 CBOT soybeans Sc1 986.50 2.25 0.2 123002 CBOT soymeal SMc1 321.40 -0.40 -0.1 36029 CBOT soyoil BOc1 33.83 0.42 1.3 51391

NOTE: CBOT December wheat, December corn and November soybeans shown in cents per bushel, December soymeal in dollars per short ton and December soyoil in cents per lb.

(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by David Goodman and Rosalba O'Brien)