GRAINS-Corn, soybeans ease on harvest progress, wheat steadies

Gus Trompiz and Naveen Thukral

* Midwest harvest progress weighs on soybeans, corn futures

* Grain markets still hopeful for U.S.-China trade settlement

* Wheat holds above Monday low, helped by Egypt tender

(Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline) PARIS/SINGAPORE, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Chicago corn and soybean futures ticked lower on Tuesday as an advancing U.S. harvest curbed prices while traders awaited further developments in U.S.-Chinese trade negotiations. Wheat edged higher, steadying after a near two-week low on Monday, with support from an Egyptian import tender that put the focus back on global demand and rising export prices. The Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybean contract was down 0.4% at $9.31-3/4 a bushel as of 1219 GMT, while CBOT corn inched down 0.1% to $3.83-3/4 a bushel. CBOT wheat gained 0.8% to $5.16 a bushel, holding above Monday's low of $5.10. U.S. farmers have harvested 62% of their soybean crop, up from 46% a week earlier although below the average pace of 78% at this time of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said after the market closed on Monday. The U.S. corn harvest was 41% complete, up from 30% a week earlier and lower than the average pace of 61%, the agency said. The corn harvest progress was below the average trade estimate of 43% but there are expectations that Midwest farmers will make more headway this week in generally dry conditions. "Improved climatic conditions are allowing harvesting work to gain momentum," consultancy Agritel said in a note. "For soybeans, traders are (awaiting) new elements about the trade relationship with China." U.S. harvest yields are still seen as difficult to predict after a year marked by rain-plagued spring planting. In the year-old U.S.-China trade dispute, officials are "close to finalising" some parts of an agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative's office and China's Commerce Ministry said, with talks to continue. Soybeans have been a focus of the tariff battle as the most important U.S. agricultural export to China. Progress this month in negotiations has raised hopes of a return to previous volumes of U.S. soybean shipments, although the market was awaiting firmer details. "For soybeans, the lack of any 'bounce' after Friday's sharp fall is perhaps worth noting," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia. "That suggests again that the putative fact of a U.S.-China trade deal was already priced." Analysts also noted uncertainty surrounding any potential change to Argentina's grain and soybean export tax policy after the election of Alberto Fernandez as the country's next president. The wheat market was focused on a tender by top importer Egypt. U.S. wheat remained uncompetitive and was not offered in the ongoing tender. But the U.S. market drew some support from initial bids that confirmed rising Russian prices and boosted Paris futures by showing French wheat as the cheapest origin before shipping costs.

Prices at 1219 GMT

Last Change Pct End Ytd PctMove 2018 MoveCBOT wheat 516.00 4.25 0.83 503.25 2.53CBOT corn 383.75 -0.25 -0.07 375.00 2.33CBOT soy 931.75 -3.75 -0.40 895.00 4.11Paris wheat Dec 180.75 1.50 0.84 191.25 -5.49Paris maize Nov 163.00 -0.75 -0.46 175.25 -6.99Paris rape Nov 383.50 2.00 0.52 364.00 5.36WTI crude oil 55.17 -0.64 -1.15 45.41 21.49Euro/dlr 1.11 0.00 -0.14 1.1469 -3.37

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 Himani Sarkar and Dale Hudson)