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GRAINS-Corn holds near one-year low on weak U.S. export sales

MANILA, Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures steadied near one-year lows in early Asian trading on Friday after U.S. weekly export sales came in below market expectations.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-traded corn contract for December delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade was little changed at $3.36-3/4 a bushel by 0138 GMT. That's not far above Thursday's trough of $3.36-1/4 which was the lowest since Nov. 15 last year.

* Net U.S. old-crop corn export sales last week fell to 949,500 tonnes, below market expectations for at least 1.2 million tonnes, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed on Thursday. <EXP/CORN USDA/EST>

* Plentiful supply also weighed on corn prices. Private analytics firm Informa Economics raised its forecast of U.S. 2018 corn plantings to 91.415 million acres, from 90.460 million acres previously.

* CBOT soybeans were also nearly flat at $9.73 a bushel while wheat gained 0.3 percent to $4.22-3/4.

* U.S. net old-crop soybean sales of 1.1 million tonnes last week were at the low end of a range of trade estimates.

* Widespread rains across the northern and southern parts of top soy exporter Brazil over the next two weeks are expected to boost recently planted crops there, forecasters said. Some areas of Argentina's crop belt are also expected to receive rains following early season dryness that have delayed planting, they said.

* FranceAgriMer cut its forecast of French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union in 2017/18 as the farm office factored in a sluggish export pace so far this season. France is the EU's biggest cereal producer.

* Egypt's state grain buyer GASC bought 240,000 tonnes of Russian wheat in an international purchase tender on Thursday amid lower than usual turnout and renewed uncertainty over the state's import policies.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar steadied after coming off the week's lows against its peers as earlier risk aversion in global financial markets receded, pushing up U.S. yields.

* Asian shares rose as strong U.S. earnings and a step forward in the U.S. Congress on tax reform brightened the mood.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

0900 Euro zone Current account Sep

1330 U.S. Housing starts Oct

1330 U.S. Building permits Oct (Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; editing by Richard Pullin)