SINGAPORE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans edged lower on Tuesday, but the market was still near last session's highest in more than three weeks with prices underpinned by strong demand and firm edible oil markets. Wheat rose for a fourth consecutive session on support from short-covering by funds, while corn edged higher after closing almost flat on Monday. FUNDAMENTALS The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active soybean contract eased 0.1 percent to $9.77 a bushel by 0037 GMT, but ws not far off last session's peak of $9.79 a bushel, the highest since Sept. 22. * Wheat added 0.3 percent to $4.25 a bushel and corn gained 0.3 percent to $3.55 a bushel. * Soybeans are drawing support as Malaysian palm oil surged more than 4 percent, partly on forecasts of weaker production growth for the month of October. * There was additional support for the soybean market from higher-than-expected export inspections. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported export inspections of U.S. soybeans in the latest week at 2.5 million tonnes, above a range of trade estimates for 1.3 million to 1.6 million tonnes. * The National Oilseed Processors Association said its members crushed 129.405 million bushels of soybeans in September, above an average of trade estimates for 127.7 million. * The NOPA reported U.S. soyoil stocks at the end of September at 1.376 billion lbs, down from 1.620 billion a month earlier and tighter than the average trade estimate of 1.500 billion. * After the CBOT close on Monday, the USDA said the U.S. corn harvest was 46 percent complete, behind the five-year average of 49 percent. The soybean harvest was 62 percent complete, near the five-year average of 63 percent. * Farmers have been reluctant sellers of corn this autumn, opting to store much of the crop and hold out for higher prices. * Wheat futures firmed on fund-driven short covering and a pick-up in global wheat export business. The latest deal was Monday's 610,000-tonne hard wheat purchase by Saudi Arabia. MARKET NEWS * Major stock markets around the world fell on Monday and U.S. and European bond yields slipped from four-month highs amid uncertainty over the health of the global economy. Grains prices at 0044 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 425.00 1.25 +0.29% +0.95% 404.68 71 CBOT corn 355.00 1.00 +0.28% +0.21% 339.63 69 CBOT soy 977.00 -1.25 -0.13% +1.51% 961.78 64 CBOT rice 10.36 -$0.04 -0.43% +1.97% $9.91 66 WTI crude 50.20 $0.26 +0.52% -0.30% $47.27 56 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.101 $0.002 +0.15% +0.41% USD/AUD 0.7656 0.003 +0.41% +0.59% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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