* U.S. corn, soybean inventories drop on strong Chinese demand
* Soybeans linger near their highest in more than a week (Adds quote in paragraphs 3 and 4, details on China’s growing demand)
SINGAPORE, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Chicago soybean futures rose for a second session on Thursday to trade near its highest since early March as strong demand from China tightened U.S. supplies.
Soybeans gained more ground, lingering near their highest in more than one week, while wheat ticked higher after notching on Wednesday its biggest one-day gain since mid-March.
“The USDA publishing a surprisingly low U.S. corn inventory estimate was the catalyst for the gains,” said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
“The USDA has ‘moved the goalposts’ again. And, in the context of worries about South American crops, the impact was powerful.”
The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 0.8% to $3.82 a bushel by 0325 GMT, having gained 3.9% in the previous session when prices hit a March 6 high of $3.82-3/4 a bushel.
Soybeans added 0.8% to $10.31-1/4 a bushel, after climbing earlier in the day to $10.35 a bushel, matching previous session’s highest since Sept. 22.
Wheat gained 0.3% at $5.79-1/2 a bushel, having closed up 5.2% on Wednesday, the biggest daily gain since March 19.
American soybean and corn stockpiles were smaller-than-expected as China stepped up its purchases of U.S. supplies during the summer, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.
Corn supplies dropped by 3.024 billion bushels and soybean supplies fell by 858 million bushels during the three months ended Sept. 1, the second-biggest summer drawdowns ever for both commodities, according to the agriculture department’s quarterly stocks report.
Soybean stocks as of Sept. 1 stood at 523 million bushels, according to the agriculture department. Corn stocks were 1.995 billion bushels and wheat stocks were 2.159 billion bushels.
China’s huge pig herd is rebounding rapidly after being decimated by disease, boosting demand for feed ingredients such as corn and soymeal.
On Thursday, traders will assess separate U.S. data on weekly export sales.
Commodity funds were big net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, wheat, soymeal and soyoil futures contracts on Wednesday, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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