* USDA gives favorable crop assessments
* U.S. wheat harvest gathering pace
* Chinese buy more U.S. soybeans (Updates closing prices, adds Chinese soybean purchases)
By Christopher Walljasper
CHICAGO, June 9 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures pared losses on Tuesday as traders said that China was purchasing more U.S. soy, after the market slumped earlier on improved crop progress outlooks.
Chicago wheat and corn fell on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s assessment of crop conditions, which analysts viewed as bearish, and a favorable weather outlook across the Midwest.
The Chicago Board of Trade’s most-active soybean contract ended down 1-1/2 cents at $8.63-1/4 a bushel, after bottoming out at $8.56-1/2.
Corn fell 6-1/4 cents to $3.27-1/2 a bushel and wheat slid 7 cents to $5.04-1/2 a bushel.
China’s state-owned trader Sinograin bought at least 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans for shipment in December from U.S. Pacific Northwest ports, two U.S. traders familiar with the deals said.
The purchases buoyed the bean market, after crop conditions pressured it lower around midday.
The USDA’s weekly crop conditions report, issued after the market close on Monday, rated 75% of the U.S. corn crop as good to excellent, up from 74% last week and aligned with average analyst estimates in a Reuters poll.
For soybeans, the USDA rated 72% of the crop as good to excellent, up from 70% last week, and 82% of U.S. spring wheat as good to excellent, above analyst expectations of 80%.
Some 7% of U.S. winter wheat was harvested, up from 3% last week, with 51% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition, slightly better than analyst expectations of 50%.
Weather forecasts across the Midwest indicate heavy rains are coming as tropical depression Cristobal pushes moisture up the Mississippi River Valley, followed by hot, dry weather supporting crop conditions into July, analysts said.
Meanwhile, traders anticipated the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate and Crop Production reports on Thursday.
“If we can get through that report without any bearish, shocking surprise, I think we will continue to resume the seasonal uptrend higher,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist at The Zaner Ag Hedge Group. “That report does always have the potential to smash the technical picture.” (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by David Gregorio and Paul Simao)