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GRAINS-Soybeans extend gains after big Chinese purchase fuels trade hopes

Karl Plume

* Soybeans on track for biggest jump since mid-June

* Big China soy buy, tariff exemption lifts hopes for talks

* Corn, wheat prices anchored by burdensome supplies (Rewrites throughout with U.S. market open, adds quote, updates prices, changes byline, changes dateline from PARIS/SINGAPORE)

CHICAGO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures hit a six-week high on Friday as China's first large purchase of U.S. beans in months fueled hopes of a detente in the tariff war between Washington and Beijing.

Corn and wheat were flat as concerns about burdensome supplies offset spillover support from higher soybeans.

Still, all three markets were on track for their strongest weekly gains since mid-summer.

A report on Friday that China will exempt some agricultural products, including soybeans and pork, from additional tariffs added to optimism about easing trade tensions after Thursday's news that Chinese firms had booked at least 10 vessels of U.S. soybeans ahead of high-level talks next month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday confirmed a portion of those sales, reporting that Chinese importers booked 204,000 tonnes for 2019/20 marketing year shipment.

The year-long tariff battle has stalled massive U.S. soybean exports to top importer China, swelling U.S. stocks.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he preferred a comprehensive trade deal with China but did not rule out the possibility of an interim pact.

"There seems to be a willingness to ratchet down the rhetoric ahead of these meetings versus ratcheting it up. At this point it's a positive sign," said Jerry Gidel, grain strategist with Price Futures Group.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybeans rose 3 cents to $8.98-1/2 a bushel by 12:13 p.m. CDT (1713 GMT). December corn was down 3/4 cent at $3.99-1/2 a bushel while CBOT December wheat fell 1-1/4 cents to $4.82-3/4.

The trade news largely overshadowed fresh crop forecasts from the USDA on Thursday, which projected corn and soybean harvests in the United States above trade expectations.

The agency lowered its U.S. 2019/20 corn yield estimate to 168.2 bushels per acre (bpa), down from 169.5 in August but above the average estimate in a Reuters analyst poll of 167.2 bpa.

The agency trimmed its U.S. soybean yield estimate to 47.9 bpa, down from 48.5 in August, but above the average Reuters poll estimate of 47.2 bpa.

Favorable U.S. Midwest crop weather this week has lessened concerns about a sharp drop in production, although some traders and investors expect further reductions in USDA's forecasts.

Grain markets have been struggling to assess U.S. harvest prospects after exceptionally late planting during a rain-plagued spring followed by signs of good yield potential in some zones as weather conditions improved.

(Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Rashmi Aich/Elaine Hardcastle/Susan Fenton)