* China July soy imports fall 18 percent from year earlier
* Markets may be choppy in run-up to Friday’s USDA report (Adds quotes, updates prices)
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans rose on Monday to a one-week high with strong export demand helping to lift a market which has been weighed by a favourable outlook for crops in the U.S. this year.
Corn and wheat prices were also higher with the key focus this week likely to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop production report to be issued on Friday.
The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade rose 1.1 percent to $9.85-1/4 a bushel by 0946 GMT, having earlier climbed to a one-week peak of $9.89.
“Much tighter South American supply conditions have improved U.S. demand prospects, which is now helping to offset worries over bumper U.S. production,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday reported that exporters had struck deals to sell 498,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to top-importer China for delivery in the marketing year that starts on Sept. 1.
It was the eighth consecutive trading day in which the USDA confirmed a soybean sale to China or “unknown destinations,” bringing total volumes for that period to 2.8 million tonnes.
Dealers noted, however, that customs data on Monday showed China’s overall soybean imports in July were 18 percent below the same month last year.
The decline was due to a build up in stocks following strong purchases earlier in the year and expectations that state auctions would inject fresh supplies into the market.
“Imports could falter over the next few months...especially if large quantities of soybeans are on offer or in demand at state auctions,” Commerzbank said in a market note.
Corn prices also edged up with the market expected to be choppy in the run-up to the USDA report on Friday which will include a forecast for U.S. yields this year.
“The market consensus is for slightly higher U.S. yields compared to 2015. Some though are suggesting that, while rainfall has been above average in the Midwest, the hotter temperatures this year could temper crop prospects,” Gorey said.
The most-active CBOT corn contract was up 0.2 percent at $3.35 a bushel.
Wheat prices also rose with the most active Chicago contract up 1.4 percent at $4.21-3/4 a bushel while September wheat in Paris rose 0.75 percent to 167.75 euros a tonne. (Additional reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Tom Hogue/Keith Weir)