GRAINS-Soybeans steady near 18-month high on China hopes, wheat also firm

* Market sees more soy purchases in planned U.S.-China trade deal

* Scope for U.S. sales to China adds to demand optimism in wheat

* Trading light during holiday week, U.S. export data awaited (Updates with European trading, changes byline/dateline)

PARIS/SHANGHAI, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures edged higher on Friday to hold near an 18-month peak as the oilseed market continued to factor in extra demand under a planned U.S.-Chinese trade agreement.

Wheat extended gains as the possibility of increased purchases by Beijing added to a picture of brisk international demand for the cereal.

Corn was also up slightly.

Trading volumes were light as some market participants were on holiday, while traders were awaiting further direction from weekly U.S. export sales data due at 1330 GMT.

Demand prospects under a “phase one” accord between Washington and Beijing announced earlier this month, aimed at defusing a bitter trade dispute between the countries, remained the focus of grain markets.

China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, has committed to increasing its purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

The Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday Beijing was in close contact with Washington and that both sides were still going through necessary procedures before the signing of the deal.

“The market is getting confident that China is going to make meaningful purchases,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.

The most active Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT) soybeans futures were up 0.3% at $9.40-1/2 a bushel as of 1147 GMT, close to Thursday’s peak of $9.49 that marked a highest level since June 2018.

Oilseed markets were also being supported by a run-up in palm oil prices.

Malaysian palm oil futures reached their highest in nearly three years on Friday on forecasts for lower production coupled with demand for use in biofuel.

CBOT wheat futures were up 0.8% at $5.53-1/4 a bushel.

On Euronext, where trading resumed on Friday after a two-day closure for Christmas, March wheat rose to a near six-month high at 188.75 euros ($210.38) a tonne.

“Wheat in particular has been seeing quite solid demand around the world,” Houe said.

Iran has bought around 1 million tonnes of mainly Russian wheat in recent weeks, while Morocco is expected to step up its import campaign after the authorities suspended tariffs on milling wheat.

China, meanwhile, has bought around 1 million tonnes of European Union wheat so far this season and could now shift to U.S. supplies under the planned trade accord.

CBOT corn futures ticked up 0.3% at $3.89-3/4 a bushel.

$1 = 0.8972 euros Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Emily Chow in Shanghai; Editing by Aditya Soni and Mark Potter