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GRAINS-Corn, soybeans gain as market wrestles with trade talks, crop prospects
* Acreage uncertainty still hangs over market
* Wheat, soybeans also higher after losses this week
* U.S., China officials spoke by telephone on Thursday (Updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline/dateline from PARIS/SINGAPORE to CHICAGO)
By Barbara Smith
CHICAGO, July 19 (Reuters) - Chicago corn and soybean futures gained on Friday as investors weighed trade talks between the United States and China and expected cooler U.S. weather against uncertainty over acreage levels following a rain-soaked spring.
Wheat also gained on bargain-buying after also falling steeply this week due to the previous weakness in corn and supply pressure from U.S. and European wheat harvests.
Traders pondered whether a call on Thursday between senior U.S. and Chinese officials would herald progress in ending a trade dispute that has stalled U.S. soybean exports.
They also looked to expected cooler temperatures early next week as a heat wave descended on much of the Midwest.
"I think there some short-covering might be going on," said Brian Basting, analyst with Advance Trading. "The forecast gets extremely important for soybeans at the end of July."
Investor sentiment was buoyed too by growing expectations that the U.S. central bank will cut interest rates later this month.
September corn futures Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT) were up 5-1/2 cents, or 1.2% at $4.30 a bushel by 11:31 a.m. (1631 GMT), after holding above Thursday's two-week low of $4.28.
August CBOT soybean futures were up 22-3/4, or 2.5% cents at $9.04 a bushel, wheat was also up 12-1/2, or 2.9% cents to $5.06 a bushel.
Last week, grain markets were underpinned by fears that U.S. corn and soybeans, already weakened by soggy planting conditions, could suffer from prolonged hot and dry weather.
But rain this week in the Midwest and forecasts for heat to ease next week created selling pressure this week.
"Normally we can expect some stability after the 4th of July," said Joe Vaclavik, president of Standard Grain. "But the hot and dry weather isn't as good of a sign as it normally is."
Investors are already looking ahead to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report on Aug. 12, which is expected to include updated planting estimates, for a clearer indication of harvest prospects.
"That's the next big data point," said Vaclavik. "We'll be able to get a slightly more accurate yield reading at that point." (Reporting by Barbara Smith in Chicago; Additional Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Mark Potter and Grant McCool)
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