* Soybeans edge up, still down 1.8 pct so far this week
* Rain due to reach dry Argentina belts in coming days
* U.S. wheat firm as higher weekly exports temper supply gloom
(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) MANILA/PARIS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans ticked higher on Friday as the market steadied after an earlier two-month low fuelled by expectations of rain relief for dry parts of Argentina. Wheat prices inched up as they consolidated following an 11-month low this week, with stronger than expected weekly U.S. export sales lending some support. Corn was steady. The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 0.4 percent at $9.71-1/2 a bushel by 1319 GMT, after earlier slipping to a new two-month low of $9.66. Over the week, the benchmark was down 1.8 percent. The market had been supported by worries over dry conditions in some of Argentina's soybean regions, but "weather forecasters have become more confident that weekend and subsequent rain events will dispel these worries," Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said in a note. "We suspect the response in terms of lower prices is incomplete," said Gorey. However, uncertainty over the effects of the dry start to the growing season were still hanging over the market. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said drought could still lead to a cut in the estimated 2017/18 soybean planting area.
"Drier conditions are expected in Argentina again from Christmas (...) meaning that the drought could quickly become an issue again," Commerzbank analysts said in a note. The dry conditions in Argentina have also lent some support to the corn market, which has been struggling with large global supplies and strong Brazilian exports. CBOT corn ticked up 0.1 percent to $3.49 per bushel. The most active wheat futures edged up 0.2 percent to $4.19-1/4 a bushel, as it recovered from Tuesday's trough of $4.10-1/2 that was the lowest since early January. Wheat traders are monitoring dryness in the U.S. Plains, with rising expectations for a La Nina weather pattern in the coming months adding to the risk of continued dry conditions.
U.S. wheat prices found some support in weekly wheat export sales reported by the U.S. Agriculture Department, which at 588,800 tonnes topped trade forecasts of 250,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes. The previous week, wheat export sales were 323,034 tonnes.
The figures tempered recent gloom about U.S. wheat exports in the face of stiff overseas competition and record global supplies.
Prices at 1319 GMT
Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2016 Move CBOT wheat 419.25 1.00 0.24 408.00 2.76 CBOT corn 349.00 0.50 0.14 352.00 -0.85 CBOT soy 971.50 3.75 0.39 1004.00 -3.24 Paris wheat Mar 160.25 0.25 0.16 177.50 -9.72 Paris maize Jan 151.75 0.75 0.50 171.00 -11.26 Paris rape Feb 359.75 1.75 0.49 393.00 -8.46 WTI crude oil 57.20 0.16 0.28 53.72 6.48 Euro/dlr 1.18 0.00 0.22
Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Tom Hogue and David Evans)