* Corn little changed as U.S. harvest weather eyed
* Soybeans supported hopes for U.S.-China trade deal
* (Recasts with European trade, adds new comment, changes dateline)
By Michael Hogan
HAMBURG, Nov 1 (Reuters) - U.S. corn prices fell on Friday, weakened by forecasts of drier weekend weather that could allow U.S. farmers to make more progress with this year’s troubled harvest.
Soybeans rose on hopes of progress in talks to solve the U.S.-China trade war which has dramatically cut U.S. soybean exports to China. Wheat prices were weak as competition to U.S. supplies in export markets remained intense.
Chicago Board of Trade’s most active corn contract was down 0.4% at $3.88-1/4 a bushel at 1146 GMT, having also fallen on Thursday as drier U.S. harvest weather was forecast.
Soybeans rose 0.1% to $9.33-1/2 a bushel and wheat fell 0.2% to $5.07-3/4 a bushel.
“I think the markets are watching the weather in the U.S. corn belts,” one German trader said.
“Forecasts are for drier weather which could permit some more progress in gathering the U.S. corn crop, which has been one of the most difficult to plant and harvest in years.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday reported the U.S. corn harvest was 41% complete, well behind the average pace of 61%. Farmers had harvested 62% of their soybeans, also significantly behind the average pace of 78%.
But U.S. weather forecasts were far from perfect, with unwelcome rain still possible in some areas.
“There is some concern about further delays in harvesting U.S. crops, and that is limiting the downside,” said one Melbourne-based trader.
Soybeans were underpinned by hopes of progress in the prolonged U.S.-China trade war and signs of recent soybean purchasing in the United States by China.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States and China would soon announce a new site where he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would sign a “Phase One” trade deal after Chile cancelled a planned summit set for mid-November.
But U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that it would take time for Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods to “scale up” to the $40 billion to $50 billion annual level sought if the two sides can seal a Phase One trade deal.
“Considering that Trump is demanding that China buy twice the volume of U.S. agriculturals that it did before the trade conflict erupted, doubts about whether this will actually happen are more than justified,” Commerzbank said in a note.
China purchased 481,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans in the week ended Oct. 24 and shipped more than half a million tonnes, the most since August.
Wheat was depressed by heavy competition to U.S. supplies in global export markets, especially from Russia and the European Union. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Additional reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Pravin Char)