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Corn Heads for Biggest Weekly Gain in 3 Months on Supply Concern

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Corn headed for the biggest weekly gain in three months in Chicago on signs U.S. inventories will be lower, stoking concern food supplies may lag behind demand after adverse weather cut harvests.

March-delivery corn fell 0.3 percent to $6.4075 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 12:06 p.m. Paris time. The grain has climbed 7.7 percent this week, on course for the biggest advance since the week ended Oct. 8.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 12 reduced its estimate of the country’s 2010 corn harvest, forecasting a global output deficit of 20.1 million metric tons, 17 percent more than it expected in December. Corn stockpiles in the U.S. will fall to 745 million bushels (18.9 million tons) before this year’s harvest, the lowest since 1996, it said.

“With the USDA report, corn and soybeans will remain bullish until we see bumper new crops later this year,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at IDO Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Supplies are very tight” after adverse weather reduced production, he said.

March-delivery soybeans slipped 0.2 percent to $14.135 a bushel, for a 3.6 percent increase this week.

Soybean stocks in the U.S. may slide to 3.82 million tons before this year’s harvest from 4.49 million tons estimated last month and 4.1 million tons last year, the USDA said. It forecast global inventories of 58.28 million tons before the next Northern Hemisphere harvest, against 60.1 million tons estimated in December and 60.2 million tons a year ago.

Argentine Crop

Soybean output in Argentina, the third-largest producer, is forecast to fall 15 percent to 47 million tons this year because of water shortages in main growing regions, the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange said. Production of the oilseed will drop from a record 55 million tons in 2010, it said yesterday.

Wheat for March delivery fell 1.1 percent to $7.7525 a bushel, paring this week’s climb to 0.2 percent. Prices may lag behind those of other grains “as signs are emerging of an improvement in global output,” Standard Chartered Plc analyst Abah Ofon said in a report e-mailed today.

Pakistan, Asia’s third-largest wheat grower, will sell 700,000 tons of the grain overseas, resuming exports after a three-year ban, Najam Shah, food director for the Punjab province, said yesterday.

Milling wheat for March delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris fell 1.5 percent to 251.50 euros ($336.43) a ton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jae Hur in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at

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