GRAINS-Soybeans steady as markets tries to gauge China demand

Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral

* U.S.-China trade talks remain focus for soybean market

* U.S. soybean, corn harvest also being assessed

* Global market supports U.S. wheat despite poor exports

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures inched up on Friday in a cautious market as the oilseed market awaited developments in trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington and the potential implications for Chinese imports. Corn was steady as the market awaited a clearer picture of the U.S. harvest. Chicago wheat was slightly higher as firm global prices and weather setbacks in Argentina and Australia offset poor weekly U.S. exports. Corn is set for a second week of losses as the market remained under pressure from the U.S. harvest. The Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybean contract was up a quarter of a cent at $9.33-1/2 a bushel, as of 1005 GMT. CBOT corn added 0.1% to $3.87 a bushel while wheat was also up 0.1%, at $5.16-3/4 a bushel. "There are geopolitical factors at play," Michel Portier, head of consultancy Agritel, said. "There's the question of whether the U.S. and China are going to reach a settlement and what will be the outcome of this weekend's election in Argentina." Soybeans have been at the heart of the year-old U.S.-Chinese trade battle, with tariffs disrupting massive soybean shipments. Sources said this week that China had granted importers a large tariff-free quota for U.S. soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday announced the sale of 264,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, but the volume disappointed traders. "They just bought a few boats but the market was expecting much higher purchases," said one Singapore-based trader at an international trading company which supplies beans to China. Weekly soybean export sales data released by the USDA on Thursday was also below expectations. Net sales last week fell to a two-month low of 475,200 tonnes, including just one cargo of beans to China. The soybean market will be watching for any developments in a telephone call between senior U.S. and Chinese officials on Friday that follows a "phase one" trade agreement outlined by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month. Argentina's presidential election on Sunday is being monitored to see if it changes export tax policy in the major wheat, corn and soybean supplier that is in the midst of an economic crisis. U.S. soybean and corn markets are also assessing yield prospects for ongoing Midwest harvesting, which has been hampered by cold, damp conditions this month. Weather forecasts pointed to drier conditions in the Midwest next week but also colder temperatures. In wheat, lower than expected weekly U.S. export sales of 262,400 tonnes were set against falling expectations for harvests in Australia and Argentina, as well as rising prices in Black Sea exporting countries Russia and Ukraine. The International Grains Council on Thursday trimmed its forecast for global wheat production in the 2019/20 season as the outlook for Australia's crop dimmed.

Prices at 1005 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd PctMove 2018 MoveCBOT wheat 516.50 0.50 0.10 503.25 2.63CBOT corn 387.00 0.25 0.06 375.00 3.20CBOT soy 933.50 0.25 0.03 895.00 4.30Paris wheat Dec 179.00 -1.00 -0.56 191.25 -6.41Paris maize Nov 163.25 0.00 0.00 175.25 -6.85Paris rape Nov 378.25 -1.25 -0.33 364.00 3.91WTI crude oil 56.14 -0.09 -0.16 45.41 23.63Euro/dlr 1.11 0.00 0.13 1.1469 -3.06

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 Rashmi Aich and Susan Fenton)