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GRAINS-Chicago soybean prices rise, corn and wheat also higher

* U.S. wheat seen more competitive in key North Africa markets

* USDA report scheduled for Friday postponed due to shutdown (Adds quotes, updates prices)

By Nigel Hunt

LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures rose on Friday, buoyed by deteriorating crop prospects in Brazil and signs that trade tensions between the United States and top buyer China are starting to ease.

Wheat and corn prices also advanced.

The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.4 percent at $9.10 a bushel at 1137 GMT, extending its rebound from Thursday's low of $9.05-3/4 which was the weakest since Jan. 3.

In Brazil, statistics agency Conab cut its estimate of the 2018-19 soybean harvest that is underway to 118.8 million tonnes from 120.1 million in December, near the high end of trade expectations.

"Conab's estimate is likely to prove overly optimistic, prompting the agency to adjust it further down in the coming month," Commerzbank said in a market note.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have normally published a fresh crop forecast on Friday but updates have been postponed indefinitely due to the government shutdown.

China's commerce ministry said on Thursday this week's trade talks were extensive and detailed, while the U.S. Trade Representative's office said that China had pledged to purchase "a substantial amount" of U.S. agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services.

A lack of new purchases of U.S. soybeans by China following the trade talks did, however, help to put the market on the defensive earlier this week.

"The market has been expecting China to make more purchases of U.S. soybeans but that has not happened," said a Singapore-based trader.

The most active CBOT wheat contract rose 1.0 percent to $5.18-3/4 a bushel.

Dealers said the market was boosted by signs that U.S. wheat is becoming more competitive in exports markets in North Africa.

"Support is coming from reports that the U.S. managed a share of this week’s Algerian tender," said David Sheppard, managing director at British merchant Gleadell.

"Although it missed out on Egypt business due to the freight disadvantage, the fact U.S. wheat was the cheapest FOB price offered added to the trade optimism.

Algeria bought around 550,000 tonnes of wheat at a tender earlier this week while Egypt purchased 415,000 tonnes.

March milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext rose 0.6 percent to 204.75 euros a tonne.

Corn prices also rose, with the most active CBOT contract up 0.7 percent at $3.78-3/4 a bushel. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Shreejay Sinha and Louise Heavens)

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