* Corn ticks up on bargain buying after 4 sessions of losses
* U.S.-China tensions seen as threat to soy trade
* Abundant global wheat supplies seen keeping a lid on prices (Adds quote, updates prices)
By Nigel Hunt
LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Chicago corn futures rose for the first time in five sessions on Thursday, with bargain buying supporting prices, although gains were capped by expectations of a bumper U.S. harvest.
Soybeans were slightly lower, pressured by favourable crop weather in the U.S. and concerns that elevated tensions between Washington and Beijing could curb China’s appetite for U.S. supplies of the oilseed.
Forecasts for rains across the U.S. Midwest this week have weighed on the corn market, raising expectations of an all-time high output.
“U.S. weather is almost perfect and we could very well hit a record 400 million tonnes of U.S. corn production,” said Ole Houe, director of advisory services at agriculture brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney.
The International Grains Council last week forecast the U.S. corn crop would rise to 380.8 million tonnes, up from the prior season’s 345.9 million tonnes.
The most-active corn futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade had risen 0.15% to $3.26-3/4 a bushel by 1036 GMT, having closed down 1.1% in the previous session.
Soybeans were down 0.2% at $8.83-1/2 a bushel.
With nearly seven months gone, an ambitious $36.5 billion target for Chinese imports of U.S. farm goods this year may not be quite out of reach, but it’s looking like a big, big stretch.
By end-May, imports were running behind 2017 levels - rather than 50% ahead as needed - and while orders for China’s main farm import, soybeans, have started to pick up, scorching levels of buying would be needed to hit the mark.
“The strengthening of export activity with the renewed interest from China brings an element of support (to soybean prices) even if the (U.S.) crop condition gives hope for good production potential,” analysts at Agritel said in a note.
Wheat lost 1.2% at $5.26-1/2 a bushel, with ample global supplies keeping the market on the defensive. (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Devika Syamnath)