GRAINS-Corn holds firm near 7-1/2 year high on China demand

    * CBOT corn on course for 8% weekly gain after sharp rebound
    * U.S. reported this week 3.7 mln T in corn export sales to China
    * Adverse S. America crop weather also supports corn, soybeans  

 (Updates with European trading, adds byline/dateline)
    By Gus Trompiz and Enrico Dela Cruz
    PARIS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose on Friday to hold near
the previous session's 7-1/2 year high as massive Chinese purchases and doubts
over South American harvest prospects sustained buying interest.
    Soybeans bounced after dropping on Thursday, similarly underpinned by
Chinese demand and South American crop risks.
    Wheat was also firm.
    Traders said all three crops remained prone to erratic  movements as
resistance levels after multi-year highs and worries about volatility in equity
markets were countering support from tightening grain supply.
    The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) most-active corn contract was up
1.5% at $5.42-3/4 a bushel by 1125 GMT.
    The benchmark contract, which rose to $5.50-1/2 on Wednesday, was on course
for a weekly gain of more than 8% after rebounding from a sell-off last Friday.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week confirmed three separate sales
of U.S. corn to China, totalling 3.74 million tonnes, or 147 million bushels,
for delivery in the 2020-21 year that ends on Aug. 31.
    The huge sales have put the focus back on booming Chinese imports and
tightening U.S. supplies ahead of an uncertain South American harvest season.

    "We need to ration demand and with the correction in prices (last week) we
saw the opposite," Benjamin Bodart, analyst with Agritel, said.
    "We still see some upside in corn and soybeans for the moment. Wheat is more
a follower."
    Hot weather prompted the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange to shave its estimate
for Argentina's soy crop to 46 million tonnes, from 46.5 million tonnes earlier.

    In Brazil, soybean harvesting delays would likely continue throughout
February after a drought pushed back plantings, Hedgepoint Global Markets said.

    The market is also concerned about rain in parts of Brazil hampering harvest
    CBOT soybeans rose 0.9% to $13.66 a bushel and wheat added 0.8%
to $6.52 a bushel.
    The wheat market was waiting to see the impact of an upcoming Russian export
tax and monitoring rumours that Argentina could curb exports to safeguard
domestic supply.
 Prices at 1125 GMT                                                
                              Last  Change    Pct      End  Ytd Pct
                                             Move     2020     Move
  CBOT wheat                652.00    5.00   0.77   640.50     1.80
  CBOT corn                 542.75    8.25   1.54   484.00    12.14
  CBOT soy                 1366.00   12.75   0.94  1311.00     4.20
  Paris wheat Mar           229.00   -0.75  -0.33   213.25     7.39
  Paris maize Mar           216.00    0.25   0.12   198.50     8.82
  Paris rape Feb            455.00    1.75   0.39   418.25     8.79
  WTI crude oil              52.44    0.10   0.19    48.52     8.08
  Euro/dlr                    1.21    0.00   0.06   1.2100     0.23
 Most active contracts - Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel, Paris
 futures in euros per tonne


 (Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by
Rashmi Aich, Kirsten Donovan)