Wires

GRAINS-Soybeans up on Chinese trade prospects; wheat also firms

Michael Hogan

* Hope of more Chinese sales support soybeans

* U.S. and soybean corn harvests slower than usual

* Russian wheat prices continue to rose (Recasts on rising prices in European trade, adds comment, changes dateline)

HAMBURG, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans rose on Tuesday, buoyed by market optimism over the prospect of U.S. sales to China while progress with the U.S. soybean and corn harvests was slower than usual.

Wheat was underpinned by rising prices in major exporter Russia, coupled with continued concerns over the Australian and Argentine harvests.

The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active soybean contract rose 1.1% to $9.43-3/4 a bushel by 1119 GMT. Corn rose by a shade more than 1% to $3.91-1/4 and wheat by 1.1% to $5.29-1/2.

Soybeans are firmer on hopes China could buy more from the United States as it has a continuing import requirement as the trade talks with the U.S. continue, said Matt Ammermann, commodity risk manager with INTL FCStone.

"Some trade chatter remains around the possibility of private entities purchasing a set amount of U.S. soy tariff-free.

While there may be optimism over the U.S.-China talks Ammerman said some have yet to be convinced.

"Markets want to see soybeans actually loaded on ships bound for China before really reacting.

U.S. soybean and corn harvests are progressing reasonably but are both well behind the five-year averages, he said, adding that there are also worries about poor harvest weather in parts of the country.

The soybean harvest was 46% complete, up from 26% the previous week but short of the five-year average of 64%, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said after the market close on Monday.

Some 30% of U.S. corn was harvested, up from 22% the previous week but below expectations of 34% and the five-year average of 47%.

Grain markets are stabilized by strong storm activity with strong winds and heavy rains forecasted to hit the Midwest this week, U.S. brokerage Allendale said in a note.

The latest fields harvested in the U.S. Crop Watch corn and soybean survey reduced the overall yield scores for both crops.

"Particularly for corn, it appears that largely favorable weather during the growing season could not outweigh some of the earlier problems with moisture during and just after planting," Reuters analyst Karen Braun wrote.

Export prices for Russian wheat last week hit their highest level in five months, partly on strong demand.

When Russian wheat prices rise, this is a price-supporting influence on all other origins," INTL FCStone's Ammermann said, referring to improved prospects for rival origins in global markets.

Australia's wheat production this year is expected to drop to 15.5 million tonnes, against expectations of 19 million tonnes.

In Argentina, recent rain was insufficient to help wheat after an extended dry spell. (Reporting by Michael Hogan Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral Editing by David Goodman)