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Corn, Soybeans Rise on Increased South American Crop Concerns

Corn rose the most in two weeks and soybeans gained on speculation that dry weather may harm crops in Argentina, while excess rain slows oilseed harvesting and grain planting in Brazil, increasing demand for U.S. supplies.

Most fields in Argentina have received less than half the average rainfall in the past 40 days, and hot, dry weather during the next five days will increase stress on developing crops, T-Storm Weather LLC said in a report. In central Brazil, as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain in the next 10 days will slow the soybean harvest and delay planting of second-season corn, the private forecaster said.

“Argentina weather is a growing concern and helped to bring in some new buying,” Jeff Beal, a market analyst for Rockford, Illinois-based Gulke Group Inc., said in a telephone interview. “The harvest delays in Brazil should not be significant unless the rains continue through February.”

Corn futures for March delivery jumped 1.2 percent to close at $7.2925 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest advance since Jan. 14. The price has gained 4.4 percent this month after the U.S. government said domestic inventories as of Dec. 1 were the lowest in nine years.

Soybean futures for March delivery climbed 0.5 percent to $14.4775 a bushel in Chicago, capping the first two-day gain since Dec. 24.

Argentina’s soil-moisture deficits are a more “serious problem” for soybeans because corn is more resilient to the dry weather, the Rosario Grains Exchange said in a report Jan. 24. Brazil’s meteorological agency said today crops in the south of the country may be harmed by dry weather the next 10 days while rains in the north-central region in the next 15 days may disrupt harvesting.

Premiums exporters paid for corn and soybeans delivered to terminals near New Orleans rose for a third consecutive session, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show.

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