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GRAINS-Corn prices ease as crop ratings improve, soy edges up

Nigel Hunt

* USDA upgrade ratings for U.S. corn, soybean crops

* Frosts risks remain key focus for soybean market

* Wheat prices weaken as excess supplies weigh (Adds quotes, updates prices)

LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures were slightly lower on Wednesday as the condition of the U.S. crop improved but soybean prices edged higher as dealers kept a close watch on any potential for an early cold snap which could curb production.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was down 0.1% at $3.66 a bushel at 1036 GMT.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased its good-to-excellent rating for the country's corn crop by 1 percentage point to 57%.

"The improving condition of crops is prompting some observers to raise their yield forecasts," Commerzbank said in a market update, noting the condition of the soybean crop had also been upgraded.

The most-active CBOT soybean contract rose 0.2% to $8.61-1/4 a bushel.

"Some parts of the market had been worried about frost risks for oilseed crops in North America," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"The risks are not immediate so worries to will wax and wane. The worry will flare again though as the weather cools."

The soybean market is also watching developments in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, the world's biggest importer of the oilseed.

China's foreign ministry reiterated on Tuesday that it had not heard of any recent telephone call between the United States and China on trade, after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there had been contact between the two sides.

Wheat prices continued to be weighed by excess supplies and tough competition in global export markets.

The most-active CBOT wheat contract was down 0.9% at $4.72-1/4 a bushel while December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext fell 0.4% to 170 euros a tonne.

Dealers said French prices had fallen to a level where they could compete with Black Sea supplies, noting Egypt's purchase on Tuesday.

Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it bought 350,000 tonnes of wheat on Tuesday at an international purchase tender.

The purchase comprised 230,000 tonnes of Russian wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat and 60,000 tonnes of French wheat. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Jon Boyle)