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GRAINS-Corn, soy, wheat firm as dollar retreats; U.S.-China talks eyed

Julie Ingwersen

(New throughout; updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline from previous PARIS/SINGAPORE) CHICAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. corn and soybean futures rose on Wednesday in light, largely technical trade as brokers awaited news from high-level U.S.-China trade talks in Washington, analysts said. Wheat followed the firm trend, drawing late support from a downturn in the U.S. dollar after the Federal Reserve struck a cautious tone on its outlook for the economy . Chicago Board of Trade corn for March delivery settled up 4 cents at $3.81-1/4 per bushel. CBOT March soybeans ended up 2 cents at $9.21 a bushel and March wheat rose 3-1/2 cents at $5.16-3/4 a bushel. Grain markets drew support from a brutal cold spell in the U.S. Midwest that stalled grain movement over roads and rivers, underpinning cash markets. Hog slaughterhouses and grain elevators shut down as the coldest temperatures in years gripped the region. But traders were reluctant to establish large new positions ahead of the trade talks in Washington, and ahead of a backlog of U.S. crop and financial reports following a month-long partial government shutdown. "We are all waiting for some sort of news from the trade deal...We are optimistic about that, but until we get more news, we really can't go anywhere. So we are just kind of stuck in the mud," said Ted Seifried, chief market strategist for Chicago-based Zaner Ag Hedge. The pivotal round of U.S.-China talks began Wednesday, aimed at digging out from a months-long trade war amid deep differences over Chinese practices on intellectual property and technology transfer. Cabinet-level officials, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, gathered with about a month to reach a deal before a March 2 U.S. deadline to increase tariffs on Chinese goods. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it will resume publishing its weekly export sales reports on Thursday, following the end of a month-long partial government shutdown.

The USDA also said it would release its U.S. crop production, quarterly grain stocks and winter wheat seeding reports on Feb. 8. CBOT wheat futures firmed late in the session as the dollar tumbled. The market also drew support from the Midwest cold spell, which could threaten dormant soft red winter wheat crops in some areas lacking snow cover. The Commodity Weather Group said wheat in parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, totalling 15 to 20 percent of the soft red crop, could be vulnerable to damage from the cold.

CBOT settlement prices:

Last Net Pct Volumechange changeCBOT wheat WH9 516.75 3.50 0.7 44727CBOT corn CH9 381.25 4.00 1.1 180041CBOT soybeans SH9 921.00 2.00 0.2 57972CBOT soymeal SMH9 311.10 -0.70 -0.2 40861CBOT soyoil BOH9 30.42 0.31 1.0 46388

NOTE: CBOT March wheat, corn and soybeans shown in cents per bushel, March soymeal in dollars per short ton and March soyoil in cents per lb.

(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Jane Merriman and Alistair Bell)