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GRAINS-Soy futures surge to new four-year high as USDA slashes inventory estimates

* Soybeans touch highest since July 2016

* USDA cuts corn, soybean yield estimates

* USDA hikes estimate for Chinese corn imports (New throughout, adds USDA data and analyst comments; changes byline/dateline, previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)

CHICAGO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures soared to a fresh four-year high on Tuesday and corn topped a one-year high after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said stockpiles this marketing year will fall to their smallest in seven years.

The forecasts, issued in a monthly crop report, reflected a decline in U.S. harvest expectations and strong exports to China and other countries.

“You’re down near pipeline on soybean stocks,” said Jim Gerlach, president of U.S. broker A/C Trading. “When you get to pipeline, you’re down to nothing.”

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade ended up 35-1/2 cents at $11.46 a bushel. It earlier reached $11.53-1/4 a bushel, its highest since July 2016 and well above Monday’s four-year peak of $11.18.

Corn climbed 15-1/2 cents to $4.23 and reached its highest price since July 2019, while wheat rose 11 cents to $6.08-1/2 a bushel.

China this summer and fall has ramped up its purchases of U.S. farm goods, including soybeans and corn. The USDA nearly doubled its forecast for corn imports by China in the 2020/21 season due to soaring domestic prices and rising feed grain demand.

The agency pegged 2020/21 U.S. corn ending stocks at 1.702 billion bushels and soybean ending stocks at 190 million bushels. The U.S. corn harvest was seen at 14.507 billion bushels and the soybean harvest at 4.170 billion bushels.

Analysts had been expecting corn stocks of 2.033 billion bushels and a harvest of 14.659 billion bushels, according to a Reuters poll. They estimated soybean stocks of 235 million bushels and a harvest of 4.251 billion bushels.

Unfavorable crop weather in South America, where dryness delayed soy plantings in Brazil, could shift more global demand to the United States, traders said.

“Anything that threatens supply now is gonna be bullish,” said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago. Additional reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago, Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore, Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Tom Brown)