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Corn, Soybeans Fall as Rain Boosts South American Crop Prospects

Corn and soybean futures fell from three-week highs as rain may boost prospects for newly planted crops in Brazil and Argentina, the biggest exporters after the U.S.

As much as 75 percent of the growing regions in Brazil received 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) of rain in the past three days, the Commodity Weather Group LLC said in a report. About 20 percent of crops in Argentina received as much as 2 inches over the weekend. More showers are expected in the next week, the private forecaster said.

“There was a little more rain in South America than expected,” said Jerry Gidel, a grain analyst for North American Risk Management Services Inc. in Chicago. “Brazil is in great shape, but Argentina will need more rain than is forecast this week to eliminate concerns about dry soils.”

Corn futures for March delivery dropped 5.5 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $5.68 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after gaining 3.7 percent last week. Earlier, the price touched $5.7525, the highest since Nov. 15. On Nov. 9, corn reached a 26-month high of $6.175 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said adverse weather reduced the size of the U.S. crop.

Soybeans for January delivery declined 11.75 cents or 0.9 percent, to close at $12.885 a bushel on the CBOT, after touching $13.0675, the highest since Nov. 15. The most-active futures rose 5 percent last week. The price reached a 26-month high of $13.485 on Nov. 12 on increased Chinese demand.

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

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