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GRAINS-Soybeans firm on U.S.-China trade hopes while crop data awaited

Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral

* China says firms inquiring about U.S. farm goods

* Latest goodwill sign ahead of next talks on trade war

* Corn also firm as traders await USDA crop forecasts

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SINGAPORE, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures rose on Thursday after China said companies were considering purchases of U.S. farm goods in a latest gesture to ease tensions in a year-old trade dispute. Investors were also squaring positions ahead of a widely watched U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report due at 1600 GMT. Corn and wheat also edged higher after falling like soybeans in the previous session due to favorable weather in the U.S. Midwest and disappointment that crops were not on a Chinese list of U.S. goods exempted from tariffs. The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 1.0% at $8.74-3/4 a bushel by 1112 GMT, having closed down 0.6% on Wednesday. CBOT corn added 0.6% to $3.60-3/4 a bushel while CBOT wheat was up 0.6% at $4.80-1/2 a bushel. China said on Thursday that Chinese companies have started to inquire about prices for purchasing U.S. agricultural goods, adding to gestures by Beijing and Washington ahead of high-level negotiations in early October. That offset earlier disappointment that soybeans, the biggest U.S. agricultural export to China, were not on a tariff exemptions list on Wednesday. "The market was briefly disappointed not to make China's list of tariff exclusions but that passed quickly," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "The market clearly has an eye on the USDA's update of their crop forecasts later today." After the USDA caught grain markets by surprise with an increased U.S. corn production forecast last month, analysts are on average expecting the agency to trim its outlook for corn and soybean crops in its September report. "Ahead of this publication, market participants have little desire to enter new positions," Commerzbank analysts said. "It is still fresh in everyone's mind how the USDA sent the corn price into a tailspin four weeks ago." Favorable weather forecasts have curbed corn and soybean prices, with warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the U.S. Midwest expected to accelerate the maturity of late-planted crops and cut the risk of frost damage. Abundant supplies were keeping a lid on wheat futures, with large northern hemisphere harvests leading to stiff export competition at the start of the 2019/20 marketing year. Traders will get a fresh indication on demand for U.S. grain from weekly USDA export sales figures at 1230 GMT.

Prices at 1112 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd PctMove 2018 MoveCBOT wheat 480.50 3.00 0.63 503.25 -4.52CBOT corn 362.00 2.00 0.56 375.00 -3.47CBOT soy 874.75 8.25 0.95 895.00 -2.26Paris wheat Dec 169.50 0.25 0.15 191.25 -11.37Paris maize Nov 162.75 0.25 0.15 175.25 -7.13Paris rape Nov 381.50 0.00 0.00 364.00 4.81WTI crude oil 55.27 -0.48 -0.86 45.41 21.71Euro/dlr 1.10 0.00 0.14 1.1469 -3.88

Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris futures in euros per tonne

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and David Evans)