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GRAINS-Corn consolidates as harvest, ethanol news eyed

Gus Trompiz and Colin Packham

* Corn edges down, set for weekly gain after stocks surprise

* Attention turning to next U.S. crop forecasts, ethanol plan

* Soybeans also subdued after 2-month high this week

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SYDNEY, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures edged lower on Friday, consolidating below a seven-week high hit this week as attention turned to the next U.S. government crop forecasts for harvest indications, as well as an ethanol plan that could boost corn use in biofuel. Soybeans also inched down, holding near a two-month peak touched earlier in the week, as traders sought confirmation of further purchases by China ahead of high-level trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. Wheat ticked lower after drawing some support on Thursday from an unexpected sale of U.S. white wheat to China. Grain markets lacked direction from wider financial markets as investors awaited a widely followed U.S. jobs report. The most active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 0.6% at $3.86-1/4 a bushel by 1138 GMT, but were up 4% so far this week. Corn rallied early in the week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) lower than anticipated estimate for U.S. inventories, which could herald tighter supplies if the Midwest harvest, which is underway, brings mixed yields. "Next Thursday's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report, in which the USDA may update their U.S. corn yield forecast, looms large," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Yields in this year's corn and soybean harvests are seen as hard to call after exceptionally late planting during a rain-plagued spring. In biofuel, meanwhile, the U.S. government is expected on Friday to unveil a new plan to boost use of crop-based ethanol as it seeks the support of farmers in next year's election, four sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

CBOT soybean futures were down 0.1% at $9.10-3/4 a bushel, not far from Tuesday's two-month peak of $9.20. The weekly USDA report released on Thursday showed soybean export sales totalled 2.08 million tonnes in the week ended Sept. 26, above the range of analysts' forecasts. A run of purchases by Chinese importers, seen as part of efforts to revive U.S.-Chinese trade discussions, has supported soybean prices, although traders remain cautious about a resolution of the dispute that has disrupted massive U.S. soybean exports. CBOT wheat was down 0.4% at $4.87 a bushel. The USDA said on Thursday that private exporters reported the sale of 130,000 tonnes of U.S. white wheat to China for shipment in the 2019/20 season. It was China's first purchase of the variety, used to make breads and noodles, since March and its largest one-time purchase of U.S. wheat since December 2016, USDA data showed.

Prices at 1138 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd PctMove 2018 MoveCBOT wheat 487.00 -1.75 -0.36 503.25 -3.23CBOT corn 386.25 -2.50 -0.64 375.00 3.00CBOT soy 910.75 -1.00 -0.11 895.00 1.76Paris wheat Dec 175.50 -0.75 -0.43 191.25 -8.24Paris maize Nov 165.00 0.00 0.00 175.25 -5.85Paris rape Nov 385.50 -0.50 -0.13 364.00 5.91WTI crude oil 52.55 0.10 0.19 45.41 15.72Euro/dlr 1.10 0.00 0.21 1.1469 -4.20

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

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Mark Potter)