SINGAPORE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Chicago wheat futures edged higher on Wednesday, gaining for a second day and trading near a 1-1/2 year high, with potential export curbs by Russia underpinning prices. Soybeans ticked up as the market awaited signing of a U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal later in the day that could reopen China's giant market to U.S. grain and farm product exports. FUNDAMENTALS * The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 0.3% to $5.70 a bushel as of 0156 GMT. On Tuesday, the market climbed to its highest since August 20, 2018 at $5.73 a bushel. * Soybeans were up 0.1% at $9.42-3/4 a bushel while corn was flat at $3.89 a bushel. * Russia's agriculture ministry is looking to set a non-tariff quota for grain exports of 20 million tonnes in January-June, it said in a statement on Tuesday, adding the quota would be scrapped later in the most active part of season for trading. * This could result in higher demand for U.S. wheat, which has struggled to win business. * Egypt's main state wheat buyer purchased 240,000 tonnes of Russian and Romanian wheat in an international purchasing tender. Prices including cost and freight (C&F) ranged from $248.85 to $249.90 per tonne, up about $3 to $4 from an Egyptian wheat tender on Jan. 8. * U.S. and Chinese officials are expected to sign a Phase 1 trade deal later in the day. The pact may allow the two sides to start resolving their trade war, which led to cuts in exports of U.S. soybeans, corn and other farm products to China. * Despite the trade deal, U.S. exporters face tough competition from a huge soybean harvest in Brazil in early 2020 following recent good weather. * Commodity traders and analysts are struggling to map out how China will reach the eye-popping amounts it is committing to buy from the United States under the trade deal. * Argentina's soybean and corn crops are in still in the earlier growth stages and the crop-growing regions ended 2019 on the driest note in several years, Karen Braun, a market analyst for Reuters, wrote in a column. * But recent rainfall has been helpful and the temperature outlook in the Pacific Ocean has grown more supportive of good Argentine harvests, she added. MARKET NEWS * Stocks were steady in early Asian trade on Wednesday as investors awaited the signing of an initial U.S.-China trade deal, with sentiment somewhat dented by comments from the U.S. Treasury Secretary's that tariffs would remain in place for now. DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0745 France CPI (EU Norm) Final MM, YY Dec 0930 UK CPI YY Dec 1100 EU Reserve Assets Total Dec 1900 US Federal Reserve issues the Beige Book of economic condition Grains prices at 0156 GMT Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI CBOT wheat 570.00 1.50 +0.26% +0.97% 544.46 75 CBOT corn 389.00 0.00 +0.00% +0.84% 384.23 62 CBOT soy 942.75 0.50 +0.05% -0.34% 928.22 46 CBOT rice 13.37 $0.02 +0.11% +0.30% $12.98 61 WTI crude 58.09 -$0.14 -0.24% +0.02% $60.09 Currencies Euro/dlr $1.113 $0.000 +0.02% -0.04% USD/AUD 0.6899 0.000 -0.01% -0.06% Most active contracts Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight RSI 14, exponential (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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