CHICAGO: Chicago soybean and grain futures ended higher on Wednesday, as traders looked to even up their positions before the market closes for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and ahead of a short trading day on Friday, analysts said.

Corn futures strengthened, as the market eyed dry weather forecasts that may cause more stress on Argentinian crops, analysts said.

"As we hit this weekend and going forward, South American weather is going to be a big deal to the markets," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities. "There's a huge soybean and corn crop in South America, so the question of weather is key."

Soybeans firmed after trading lower earlier in the day amid ongoing concern about a rise in COVID-19 cases in China and oil prices falling as the Group of Seven (G7) nations looked at a price cap on Russian oil.

Exporters sold 110,000 tonnes of U.S. soy to China for delivery in the 2022/23 marketing year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

"You had two other things today: Options expire on Friday, so people were looking to get ahead of that, and the basis levels remain strong" as domestic demand remains robust, Roose said.

Wheat prices also ended higher, even as traders considered reports that U.S. buyers imported European wheat due to high domestic prices and attractive ocean shipping rates into the United States.

The recent deal to keep the Black Sea export corridor open for Ukraine grain shipments also capped any run-up on prices within the thinly traded market before Thanksgiving on Thursday, traders said.

The most-active wheat contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) added 3 cents to $8.13-1/2 a bushel.

CBOT soybeans gained 6-1/4 cents to $14.36 a bushel, and corn firmed 6-1/2 cents to $6.63-1/4 a bushel. (Additional reporting by Mei Mei Chu in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Rashmi Aich, Shounak Dasgupta, Richard Chang and Anna Driver)