* Soybeans ease but stay on track for weekly rise
* Drier Midwest weekend seen after rains this week
(Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline; previous PARIS/SINGAPORE) CHICAGO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures climbed more than 1 percent on Friday to a one-week high, buoyed by end-user demand and fund short-covering, analysts said. Wheat and soybean futures declined but were still on track to post weekly advances. As of 12:50 p.m. CDT (1750 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade December corn was up 4 cents at $3.56-1/2 per bushel after reaching $3.57-1/4, its highest since Sept. 12. CBOT November soybeans were down 3-3/4 cents at $8.46-1/2 per bushel and December wheat was down 5 cents at $5.19 a bushel. Corn headed higher for a third straight session after hitting a contract low at $3.42-1/2 on Tuesday, with analysts citing a mix of technical and fundamental factors. Commodity funds hold a sizable net short position in CBOT corn, leaving the market vulnerable to bouts of short covering. Export demand has been strong, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters sold another 121,700 tonnes of U.S. corn to unknown destinations in the past day.
Weekly U.S. export sales data on Thursday showed corn sales exceeded market estimates at 1.4 million tonnes.
"Coming into today, we were still the cheapest corn in the world. End-users want to get covered at these prices," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities. Some analysts are uncertain about the USDA's forecast this month of a record-high average yield of 181.3 bushels per acre, given early anecdotal harvest reports. "It looks like a record bean crop is still there. The corn yields are a little more variable," Roose said. Rains slowed the corn and soy harvest in the northwestern Midwest this week, although the weekend should be mostly dry. Soybean futures fell as traders returned their focus to the massive U.S. crop and the ongoing trade dispute with China, the world's top soy buyer. The United States is assessing China's response to the Trump administration's latest round of tariffs and does not have a scheduled date to announce for another round of talks, a senior White House official said. Still, the November soybean contract was on track to post a weekly rise of about 2 percent, clawing back from a contract low set Tuesday at $8.12-1/4. Similarly, CBOT December wheat declined on Friday but remained on track to rise about 1.4 percent for the week. Traders appeared to shrug off news that Russia's IKAR consultancy lowered its estimate of Russia's 2018 wheat crop to 69.2 million tonnes, from 69.6 million previously. Russia is the world's biggest wheat exporter.
CBOT prices as of 12:49 p.m. CDT (1749 GMT):
Last Net Pct Volume change change CBOT wheat WZ8 519.25 -4.75 -0.9 33482 CBOT corn CZ8 356.50 4.00 1.1 114283 CBOT soybeans SX8 847.50 -2.75 -0.3 65878 CBOT soymeal SMZ8 309.60 -4.80 -1.5 39725 CBOT soyoil BOZ8 28.33 0.47 1.7 64015
NOTE: CBOT December wheat and 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 Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Tom Brown)