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GRAINS-Soybeans turn higher after dropping to 2019 low

Tom Polansek

* Soybean market eyes trade talks, Latam crops, swine fever

* Wheat slips to hover near one-month low

* Corn near unchanged as global supply weighs (Recasts throughout; adds start of U.S. trading, changes byline/dateline)

CHICAGO, April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures turned higher on Thursday after dropping to their lowest prices of the year on concerns about weak export demand and large harvests in South America.

Corn futures were near unchanged, while wheat futures touched a one-month low at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Soy prices edged higher on position evening ahead of a three-day weekend, with trading subdued before U.S. markets close for Good Friday, traders said.

Yet large global supplies continued to hang over the markets, a day after Argentina projected its soy harvest would climb from last year's drought-reduced crop.

In the United States, soybean ending stocks have swelled over the past year due to competition for export business from South American suppliers and as the U.S.-China trade hurt shipments of U.S. soy to Chinese buyers.

"The fundamentals are not good for soybeans and that means that any little rallies that come along should be sold," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage in Iowa.

The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 3/4-cent at $8.79-3/4 a bushel by 12:15 p.m. CDT (1715 GMT). The contract hit its lowest price since Dec. 26.

The most active CBOT corn contract was down 1/2-cent at $3.66-1/2 a bushel. CBOT wheat was down 4 cents at $4.46-1/4 a bushel.

Wheat was hovering near a one-month low struck earlier this week, as a broadly favourable harvest outlook in the northern hemisphere weighed on prices.

Traders were also eyeing demand data as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported U.S. wheat export sales in the week ended April 11 were in line with analysts' expectations and corn sales topped estimates.

Weekly U.S. soybeans sales were toward the low end of expectations.

"Exports are nothing to get excited about," said Karl Setzer, operations manager for Citizens LLC, a U.S. grain elevator company.

The trade war between Washington and Beijing since last year has disrupted flows of U.S. soybeans toward China, the world's biggest importer of the oilseed.

However, even in the event of a trade agreement, Chinese demand for U.S. soy may be curbed by the African swine fever hog disease, which has caused severe losses to pig herds in China.

"The news suggests the market is both gaining supply from bigger South American crops and losing demand as China's pigs succumb to African swine fever," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney; editing by Jan Harvey and Chizu Nomiyama)