Soybeans, Grains Rise as U.S., European Economic Concerns Ease

Soybeans rose the most in three weeks and grains advanced on optimism that the U.S. will avoid the so-called fiscal cliff as Europe took steps to resolve a Greek rescue, bolstering prospects for commodity demand.

President Barack Obama said yesterday he’s “confident” about reaching an budget agreement with lawmakers to avoid $607 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts. European finance officials met in Paris today to try to forge a common position to aid Greece.

“The perception is that the U.S. and European governments will avoid a financial crisis, and that is bringing in some new investor buying,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “There are signs of end-users increasing forward purchases to lock in lower prices.”

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 0.8 percent to close at $13.9475 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 24. The oilseed has dropped 22 percent from a record $17.89 on Sept. 4 as rain improved crop prospects in Brazil, the world’s second-biggest exporter, and the U.S.

U.S. exporters sold 20,000 metric tons of soybean oil to an unknown buyer, the government said today.

Corn futures for March delivery climbed 1.6 percent to $7.425 a bushel. The price has declined 13 percent from a record $8.49 on Aug. 10.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 0.5 percent to $8.5775 a bushel. The price fell in the previous six sessions, the longest slump since September 2011.

The U.S. was the top exporter of the three commodities last year. Corn is the nation’s biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show. Wheat is the fourth-largest at $14.4 billion, behind hay.

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