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Corn, Soybeans Advance as Drought May Persist in U.S. Midwest

Corn and soybeans gained on speculation that recent rains haven’t been enough to ease drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture left its corn crop ratings unchanged yesterday, with 23 percent of fields in good or excellent condition, while soybean ratings rose to 30 percent in top condition from 29 percent a week earlier. Crops remained in the worst shape since 1988. Areas of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana got an inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain in the past seven days, after having less than half the normal amount of moisture in the past three months, National Weather Service data show.

“We would caution that the improvement in crop conditions is small and does not change the overall bleak supply outlook,” Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a report today.

Corn for December delivery rose 0.7 percent to $7.975 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 1:12 p.m. in London, after dropping 3.9 percent in the previous two sessions. Soybeans for November delivery advanced 0.5 percent to $16.0825 a bushel, after sliding 2.6 percent yesterday.

Corn touched a record $8.49 a bushel on Aug. 10 while soybeans rallied to $16.915, the highest ever, on July 23. The USDA slashed its forecast for the U.S. corn harvest by 17 percent on Aug. 10, projecting this year’s output at 10.779 billion bushels, a six-year low. Soybean production may total 2.692 billion bushels, the least since 2007.

Wheat for December delivery rose 0.6 percent to $8.8125 a bushel in Chicago. In Paris, November-delivery milling wheat gained 0.3 percent to 258 euros ($319) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.

Russian Wheat

Russia’s wheat crop may total 41.3 million tons, 10 percent less than previously forecast, according to an estimate from Paris-based farm adviser Agritel. The country’s exports will slide to 8 million tons from last month’s forecast of 11 million, the company said in a report e-mailed yesterday. Russia, the world’s third biggest wheat shipper last season, has suffered from drought this year.

Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer, is seeking at least 60,000 tons of the grain at a tender today, the General Authority for Supply Commodities said yesterday. The country purchased 120,000 tons of Russian wheat on Aug. 11. Algeria also is seeking to purchase wheat, Agritel wrote on its website today, without saying where it got the information.

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