-- Corn rose the most in three weeks on speculation that inventories of the biggest U.S. crop fell to the lowest in nine years after the worst drought since the 1930s. Soybeans declined.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture probably will say on Jan. 11 that corn reserves on Dec. 1 fell 15 percent to 8.219 billion bushels from a year earlier after drought cut production, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Ethanol production jumped 2.4 percent in the week ended Jan. 4, the most in five weeks, the Energy Department said today in a report.
“Traders are preparing for tighter corn supplies,” Brian Grete, the senior market analyst at the Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “There’s some buying interest developing ahead of the USDA report.”
Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.8 percent to close at $6.9425 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Dec. 14. The grain reached a record $8.49 on Aug. 10 after drought cut U.S. production to a six-year low.
Soybean futures for March delivery slipped 0.1 percent to $13.855 a bushel on the CBOT. On Jan. 4, the oilseed touched $13.56, the lowest since June 19, on speculation that rain will boost production in South America to a record this year.
In the U.S., corn is the biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.