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Corn, Soy Rise as Rain May Extend Planting Delays; Wheat Falls

Corn futures rose, capping the biggest weekly gain since October, on bets that U.S. planting delays will persist because of more rain next week in the Midwest. Soybeans climbed, and wheat dropped.

Storms may bring 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain to Ohio by May 24, said David Streit, a senior meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group. The pace of Ohio corn planting trails all states. About 63 percent of the nation’s crop is sown, behind the five-year average of 75 percent, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The next USDA forecast is on May 23.

“Some forecasts have rain in the next seven days for some of the areas that have been getting hit the hardest,” said Jason Britt, the president of brokerage Central States Commodities Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. Traders “will definitely be looking at Monday’s report to see how things are progressing,” he said.

Corn futures for July delivery rose 11.25 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $7.595 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $7.65, the highest for a most-active contract since April 28. Prices climbed 11 percent this week, the biggest gain since the week ended Oct. 8.

The commodity has more than doubled in the past year on tightening global supplies and increasing demand from producers of grain-based fuel and livestock farmers. The U.S. is the world’s biggest producer and exporter.

Soybean futures for July delivery rose 0.75 cent to settle at $13.8025 a bushel on the CBOT. Prices were up 3.8 percent this week, the biggest gain since January. The oilseed has climbed 46 percent in the past year on record Chinese purchases.

Wheat Declines

Wheat futures for July delivery fell 5.5 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $8.065 a bushel in Chicago. The price is up 72 percent in the past year, as drought cut output in Russia and eroded crops in the U.S. Great Plains. This week, prices were up 11 percent, the biggest gain since December.

“Wheat has had a heck of a run to the upside, so we’re seeing a little bit of profit taking possibly coming into this thing,” Britt said. Speculation that rain will fall in Europe, where crops are suffering from drought, also may have pushed prices lower, he said.

Parts of Germany may receive up to an inch of rain in the next week, while growing areas in France and the U.K. will remain dry, Commodity Weather Group’s Streit said by telephone from Bethesda, Maryland. The rain won’t be enough “to change the situation over there,” he said. “They’re still going to maintain an overall dry pattern.”

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $66.7 billion in 2010, followed by soybeans at $38.9 billion, government figures show. Wheat was fourth at $13 billion, behind hay.

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