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GRAINS-Soybeans hold steady near six-week low

SYDNEY, May 17 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures took a breather on Thursday as prices lingered near a six-week low as fears about Chinese demand for North American supplies pressured prices.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were little changed at $9.99-1/2 a bushel by 0153 GMT, having closed down 1.9 percent on Wednesday when prices hit a low of $9.98-3/4 a bushel - the lowest since April 4.

* The most active corn futures were down 0.1 percent to $3.99-3/4 a bushel, having closed down 0.8 percent in the previous session. The most active wheat futures were up 0.6 percent to$4.97 a bushel, having closed little changed on Wednesday.

* Market focused on the outcome of trade talks between United States and China for signs of thawing tensions that have slowed demand for North American beans.

* Australian farmers are planting wheat in some of the driest soils in years, following on from a severe drought that cut 2017/18 output in the world's fourth-largest exporter to the lowest in a decade.

* Traders were also weighing up yield losses to Brazil's safrinha, or second corn crop, due to drought against the potential benefit from a return of rain.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar stood tall against a basket of currencies on Thursday, as the euro retreated to a five-month low on concerns the political developments in Italy could cause wider disruptions in the common currency bloc.

* Oil prices firmed on Thursday, with Brent crude creeping ever closer to $80 per barrel, a level it has not seen since November 2014, as supplies tighten while demand remains strong.

* Retail and technology stocks led Wall Street higher on Wednesday and the small-cap Russell 2000 hit a record peak, even as a rise in U.S. bond yields to an almost seven-year high suggested more competition for equities and investors fretted over geopolitics.

Grains prices at 0153 GMT

Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 497.00 2.75 +0.56% +0.71% 499.59 46 CBOT corn 399.75 0.50 +0.13% -0.62% 397.77 59 CBOT soy 999.50 -0.25 -0.03% -1.89% 1038.65 38 CBOT rice 12.55 -$0.01 -0.04% +0.48% $12.98 49 WTI crude 71.70 $0.21 +0.29% +0.55% $68.37 70

Currencies

Euro/dlr $1.181 $0.001 +0.05% -0.20% USD/AUD 0.7529 0.002 +0.20% +0.78%

Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Sunil Nair)