* Soybeans up for 3rd straight session on strong China demand
* Corn firms but market poised for a third week of decline (Adds quote in paragraph 3, details on global U.S. exports and wheat output forecast)
By Naveen Thukral
SINGAPORE, July 24 (Reuters) - Chicago soybeans rose for a third consecutive session on Friday and were poised for a second week of gains on the back of strong Chinese demand.
Corn gained ground but was poised for a third weekly decline as friendly weather across the U.S. Midwest crop belt boosts expectations of a bumper harvest.
“Chinese demand is the key driver of prices,” said one Singapore-based trader. “Loading schedule is pretty much packed at U.S. Pacific Northwest ports.”
The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 0.3% at $9.02-3/4 a bushel by 0249 GMT, adding nearly 1% so far this week.
Corn was down 0.8% for the week, while wheat has lost 0.3%.
Weekly U.S. corn and soybean export sales reached multi-year highs in mid-July, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday, fuelled by big purchases by China.
China booked deals to buy 1.967 million tonnes of U.S. corn, its biggest weekly total of the yellow grain on record, in the week ended July 16.
The weekly USDA report also showed soybean sales to China rose to 1.696 million tonnes, the most since March 2019.
Private exporters reported sales of 132,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, the USDA said on Thursday.
Still, escalating tensions between China and the United States muted gains after Washington ordered Beijing to close its consulate in Houston amid accusations of spying.
The International Grains Council on Thursday cut its forecast for global wheat production in the 2020/21 season, partly reflecting lowered crop outlooks for the European Union, Russia and the United States.
In its monthly update, the inter-governmental body cut its global wheat crop forecast by 6 million tonnes to 762 million tonnes, with production in the EU downwardly revised to 125.6 million tonnes versus a previous projection of 128.4 million tonnes.
Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT soybeans, soymeal and corn futures contracts on Thursday and net sellers of wheat and soyoil futures, traders said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)