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GRAINS-Soybeans firm as U.S. biodiesel data lifts soyoil; corn flat

(Recasts; updates prices, adds quotes, changes byline, changes dateline from previous SINGAPORE/LONDON)

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, July 31 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday for a second session as soyoil futures climbed more than 1% on demand from the soy-based biodiesel fuel sector, traders said.

Corn futures were little changed, anchored by benign weather in most of the Midwest crop belt that favored good yields, while wheat futures firmed in featureless technical trade.

As of 12:58 p.m. CDT (1758 GMT), the bellwether Chicago Board of Trade November soybean contract was up 3-1/2 cents at $8.91-3/4 per bushel.

CBOT December corn was down 1/2 cent at $3.26-1/4 a bushel and September wheat was up 3/4 cent at $5.30-1/4 a bushel.

Soybeans got a lift from monthly U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing that the amount of soyoil used for biodiesel in May rose to 778 million pounds, up from 672 million a month earlier.

"The biodiesel figure for May was huge. It tells us the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) is probably going to take (their estimate of) soybean oil used for biodiesel use for this year up," said Terry Reilly, senior analyst with Futures International in Chicago.

The CBOT December soyoil contract pushed through chart resistance at its 200-day moving average, triggering buy stops, Reilly said.

Also, the CBOT reported no deliveries against August soybean futures on first notice day on Friday, a factor that supported the contract against back months on spreads.

Corn futures were fractionally weaker and poised for a monthly decline as crop-friendly weather raised the likelihood of a bumper U.S. harvest, offsetting support from stepped-up grain sales to China.

The USDA on Thursday confirmed that Chinese buyers booked their single biggest purchase of U.S. corn, purchasing 1.937 million tonnes, the latest in a series of large U.S. purchases, even as tensions between Washington and Beijing rise.

"The USDA reporting hefty export sales to China did not result in a sustained price gain," noted Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral and Maytaal Angel; Editing by David Evans and Grant McCool)

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