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CBOT soy gains on delayed slow harvest progress

CHICAGO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures strengthened on Tuesday, supported by a sluggish start to U.S. harvest and import demand from China, traders said. * CBOT November soybeans closed up 17-1/2 cents at $14.78-3/4 a bushel. * CBOT December soymeal added $10.10 to $439.40 a ton, notching life-of-contract highs in nearly every contract month, while CBOT December soyoil firmed 0.75 cent to 65.91 cents per lb. * The U.S. soybean harvest was 3% complete as of Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said after Monday's market close, below an average estimate of 5% in a Reuters poll. * China's soybean imports from Brazil plunged in August from a year ago, customs data showed, as high prices capped purchases of the oilseed from the South American nation. Imports from the United States increased, however. * Brazil's soybean exports could reach 4.152 million tonnes in September, according to trade group ANEC, versus 4.471 million tonnes in the previous week's forecast. * Brazil's soymeal exports could reach 2.225 million tonnes this month, up from 2.114 million tonnes, ANEC said. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper in Chicago; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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