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GRAINS-Soybeans set for second week of losses; wheat gains

    * U.S. soybeans under pressure on lack of Chinese buying
    * Hopes of easing U.S.-China trade conflict limits losses

 (Adds details, quotes)
    By Naveen Thukral
    SINGAPORE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures ticked down on Friday with the market
poised to finish lower for a second consecutive week on pressure from a lack of Chinese buying. 
    Wheat prices gained for a third consecutive session as hopes for a pickup in U.S. wheat export
pushed the market higher. 
    The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade is down around half a
percent this week, the second straight weekly loss.
    Corn climbed 0.3 percent so far this week, after closing 1.2 percent weaker last week, and
wheat is down marginally after closing higher for the last two weeks.
    "There is nothing concrete on Chinese buying, and in that environment of uncertainty it is hard
to see an increase in U.S. bean prices," said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National
Australia Bank.
    "They may buy U.S. agriculture products at some point, but you have to wait and see."
    Still, hopes for a thaw in the U.S.-China trade conflict fed investor appetite for risk assets
on Friday.
    The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff
rollback during trade discussions scheduled for Jan. 30.
    Adverse weather in South America continued to underpin corn and soybean markets. Numerous crop
watchers have scaled back their harvest forecasts for Argentina and Brazil due to stressful weather.
    The Buenos Aires Grains exchange cut its forecast for Argentine soybean plantings to 17.7
million hectares, from 17.9 million hectares previously, due to excessive rains.
    Expectations of strong demand for U.S. wheat supported prices.
    Concerns that harsh cold weather could threaten vulnerable wheat crops in the U.S. plains that
do not have a protective blanket of snow provided further strength to the wheat market.
    The European Union faces higher stockpiles of grains next season as cereal production is
expected to rebound after last year's drought-damaged harvest, outpacing rising demand, Strategie
Grains analysts said.
    
 Grains prices at 0308 GMT
 Contract    Last    Change   Pct chg  Two-day chg  MA 30   RSI
 CBOT wheat  518.75  1.00     +0.19%   +1.52%       518.83  56
 CBOT corn   379.25  -0.75    -0.20%   +2.15%       379.89  54
 CBOT soy    906.50  -1.25    -0.14%   +1.48%       910.92  57
 CBOT rice   10.50   $0.00    +0.00%   +1.16%       $10.59  58
 WTI crude   52.55   $0.48    +0.92%   +0.84%       $49.25  
 Currencies                                                 
 Euro/dlr    $1.139  -$0.008  -0.65%   -0.92%               
 USD/AUD     0.7194  -0.002   -0.29%   +0.13%               
 Most active contracts
 Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per
 hundredweight
 RSI 14, exponential
    

 (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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