GRAINS-Wheat, soybeans edge higher as trade uncertainty lingers

SHANGHAI, Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat and soybeans edged up slightly on Monday morning ahead of the holiday season, as lingering uncertainty over an interim Sino-U.S. trade deal fuelled concerns over Chinese demand.

The two countries struck a so called "Phase 1" trade deal that includes a commitment by Beijing to increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products. China's top agriculture consultancy said last week that the country will make good on a pledge to buy more than $40 billion of American farm goods.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active wheat futures were up 0.2% on Monday morning at $5.43-1/4 a bushel, after slipping from a five-month top last week in three previous consecutive sessions of losses.

* The most active soybeans futures were up 0.1% at $9.29 a bushel.

* The most active corn futures were trading flat at $3.87-3/4 a bushel.

* European Union's wheat exports to China this season are expected to reach about 1 million tonnes, led by a run of French sales, after international trade disputes allowed Europe to shift some of its big 2019 crop, grain market sources said. China is the world's largest wheat grower but also imports several million tonnes a year to cover its needs.

* China's top agriculture consultancy said the country will make good on a pledge to purchase more than $40 billion per year of U.S. agricultural products under the Phase 1 deal.

* The deal, which is yet to be signed, is fuelling scepticism over whether China will be able to import such a large amount of U.S. farm products.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar held firm at start of holiday-thinned week on Monday after U.S. data pointed to solid economic growth while the British pound found some stability after having suffered its biggest weekly fall in three years.

* Oil prices were mostly steady on Monday after three weeks of gains amid optimism the United States and China were close to signing a trade deal to end a tariff war, with President Donald Trump saying an agreement would be signed "very shortly".

* U.S. stocks hit record closing highs again on Friday and the S&P 500 registered its biggest weekly percentage gain since early September after data showed a rise in consumer spending and investors continued to be optimistic about developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute. (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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