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GRAINS-China demand sets soybean prices for 3% weekly gain

SYDNEY, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose for a sixth consecutive session on Friday as strong demand from China, the world’s largest importer, pushed the oilseed towards weekly gains of 3%.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade up 3% for the week, and on track for a third straight weekly gain.

* Soybeans up 0.4% at $11.82 a bushel by 0143 GMT, having firmed 0.1% on Thursday. Soybeans hit a June 2016 high earlier in the week of $11.89-3/4 a bushel.

* The most active corn futures up more than 3% for the week, poised for a third consecutive weekly gain.

* The most active wheat futures were trading steady for the week.

* Weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export data on Thursday showed soybean export sales last week at a low for the 2020/21 marketing year, but total sales were still above trade expectations at 1.388 million tonnes.

* Corn export sales were also slightly above expectations, while wheat sales were below forecasts.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar halted its week-long slide on Friday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Federal Reserve to return money earmarked for pandemic lending to businesses, nonprofits and local governments.

* U.S. oil prices slipped on Friday, dropping for a second day as concerns mounted about the hit to demand from the surge in COVID-19 infections forcing new lockdowns, but prices were supported by signs of movement on a stimulus deal in Washington.

* Global stocks came under pressure on Friday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to pandemic relief for struggling businesses, sparking a rare clash between the central bank and Treasury and weighing on sentiment.

Reporting by Colin Packham, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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