Corn, Soybeans Rise on Dry South America Weather; Wheat Gains

Corn rose, capping the longest rally since August, and soybeans climbed to a one-month high as adverse weather threatens crops in South America, boosting demand for U.S. supplies. Wheat also advanced.

Rains in the next five days will fail to provide relief to about a third of the crops in Argentina and leave about 20 percent of the growing region in Brazil too dry, Commodity Weather Group LLC said today in a report. Heat and dry weather will return next week and increase stress on developing corn and soybeans, the private forecaster said.

“The weather remains a significant threat to yields,” Chad Henderson, a market analyst at Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “South American crops are reaching the critical development period and will need more rain.”

Corn futures for March delivery rose 1.6 percent to close at $6.165 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price gained for the fourth straight session, the longest rally since late August. Earlier, the grain reached $6.19, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 18.

Soybean futures for March delivery climbed 0.8 percent to $11.6325 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $11.685, the highest since Nov. 21. The oilseed climbed for the fifth consecutive session, the longest rally since mid-October.

The U.S. was the world’s largest producer and exporter of both commodities in the marketing year that ended Sept. 30. The Department of Agriculture says Brazil will top the U.S. this year as the leading shipper of soybeans. Argentina is the second-biggest corn exporter.

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 1.5 percent to $6.17 a bushel. The price climbed for the fourth straight session, the longest rally since early November, as the gain in corn boosts demand for grain in animal feed.

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

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