GRAINS-Soy markets stay firm as Argentina drought worries continue

* Soybeans, meal hit new highs, Argentine rain seen light

* Corn subdued after 6-month top on strong exports

* Wheat also eases after 6-month high, dry Plains watched

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SYDNEY, Feb 16 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean and soymeal futures edged higher on Friday, holding strong gains from this week, as forecast rain in Argentina was seen as too little to relieve drought in the big soy exporter. Corn was almost unchanged, consolidating below a six-month high hit on Thursday linked to strong export demand and the Argentine weather concerns. Wheat was lower as it also held below a six-month top this week, with forecasts for some rain in the U.S. Plains easing drought worries. A bounce in the dollar after a three-year low earlier in the day against a basket of currencies also encouraged prices to consolidate. The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were up 0.1 percent at $10.25-1/2 a bushel by the end of the overnight session, after earlier hitting a new seven-month high at $10.26. CBOT soymeal was up 1.0 percent at $337.3 a ton, after again reaching its highest level since July 2016 at $377.6. Argentina is the world's third-largest exporter of soybeans behind Brazil and the United States, and the biggest exporter of soy products like soymeal. "Weather forecasters still expect light rains that are well short of the soaking that some of Argentina needs to arrest declining crop conditions," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Argentina could harvest fewer than 50 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017-2018 crop year, the lead analyst at the Rosario grains exchange said on Wednesday, as a prolonged drought looks set to continue harming yields.

Analysts expect a production shortfall in Argentina to be offset by a bumper Brazilian harvest that is under way, but market jitters have grown as the Argentine drought has worn on. Drought in the U.S. Plains has also supported wheat markets and deflected attention from high global supplies of the cereal. The most active CBOT wheat futures were down 0.8 percent at $4.58 a bushel, while corn was unchanged on the day at $3.67-3/4 a bushel, close to Thursday's six-month peak of $3.68-3/4. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Thursday said weekly export sales of corn totalled 2.072 million tonnes, topping market forecasts. U.S. export prospects have been supported by the drop in the dollar this week, including a new low since December 2014 on Friday before a later bounce.

Prices at 1350 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd Pct Move 2017 Move CBOT wheat 458.00 -3.75 -0.81 427.00 7.26 CBOT corn 367.75 0.00 0.00 350.75 4.85 CBOT soy 1025.50 1.25 0.12 961.75 6.63 Paris wheat Mar 159.75 -0.50 -0.31 159.00 0.47 Paris maize Mar 153.75 0.00 0.00 157.75 -2.54 Paris rape May 349.75 0.25 0.07 352.75 -0.85 WTI crude oil 61.48 0.14 0.23 60.42 1.75 Euro/dlr 1.25 0.00 -0.36

Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)