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GRAINS-Corn prices steady as forecast snow awaited
* Snow could further delay U.S. corn, soy harvests
* Lack of export competitiveness hurts Chicago wheat (Adds quotes, updates prices)
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures held at little-changed levels on Wednesday as the market waited to see whether forecast snow would further delay the U.S. harvest, while soybeans edged higher.
The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade were unchanged at $3.86-1/4 a bushel as of 1206 GMT, while soybean futures rose 0.2% to $9.35 a bushel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday said the U.S. corn harvest was 41% complete, up from 30% a week earlier but lower than the average pace of 61%.
U.S. farmers have harvested 62% of their soybean crop, up from 46% a week earlier although below the average pace of 78% at this time of the year, USDA said.
Forecasts of snow across a wide swath of the U.S. Midwest - from Missouri to Wisconsin, according to the Commodity Weather Group - are poised further to slow the harvest.
Analysts Agritel said in a note that traders were hesitant about taking positions ahead of the expected snowfall.
The soybean market was also keeping a close watch on the trade conflict between the United States and China.
An interim Sino-U.S. trade agreement might not be completed in time for signing in Chile next month as expected but that does not mean the accord is falling apart, a U.S. administration official said on Tuesday.
Washington wants China to commit to big purchases of American farm products, including soybeans, but so far Beijing is balking at committing to large purchases in a specific timeframe.
"Soybean prices are still finding support in the hope of seeing the geopolitical tensions with China relax," Agritel said.
The most-active CBOT wheat contract was down 0.7% at $5.08 a bushel. December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext fell 0.1% to 179.25 euros a tonne.
Dealers said a lack of export competitiveness continued to weigh on U.S. prices.
Egypt's state grain buyer GASC bought 235,000 tonnes of wheat at its latest international purchasing tender from Ukraine, France and Romania.
Dealers noted that Russia, normally a key supplier to Egypt, did not secure any sales.
"Russia might simply have exported enough wheat already that the supply chain is no longer under pressure to move wheat quickly," Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Tobin Gorey said in a market update. (Additional reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Dale Hudson)
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