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Corn, Soybeans Fall as European Debt Crisis May Erode Demand

Corn and soybeans fell on speculation that the debt crisis in Europe will spread, damping prospects for the global economy and demand for U.S. crops.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the ECB will delay the withdrawal of emergency liquidity measures and keep buying government bonds as the debt crisis creates “acute” tensions in financial markets. Yesterday, corn had the biggest gain in almost six weeks, and soybeans jumped more than 3 percent.

“The European debt problems have the markets on the defensive,” said Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. “The market is void of any fresh positive news to bring in new buying after the rallies.”

Corn futures for March delivery fell 3.5 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $5.6275 a bushel at 10:30 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Yesterday, the price climbed 4.1 percent.

Soybean futures for January delivery dropped 2 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $12.81 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $12.87, the highest since Nov. 16.

The U.S. is the world’s biggest grower and exporter of the commodities.

Corn is the largest U.S. crop, valued at $48.6 billion in 2009, government figures show, followed by soybeans at $31.8 billion.

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