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Soybean, Corn Futures Rise on Argentina Crop Concerns

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Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans gained for the third session, the longest rally in seven weeks, and corn rose on speculation that dry, warm weather in early February will reduce Argentina crop prospects, boosting U.S. exports demand.

As much as 0.75 inch (1.9 centimeters) of rain from Feb. 1 to Feb. 10 won’t ease crop stress from a month of below-normal precipitation, and moisture deficits will increase, Kyle Tapley, a meteorologist at Gaithersburg, Maryland-based MDA Information Systems Inc., said in a telephone interview. Argentina is the world’s biggest shipper of soy-based animal feed and vegetable oil

“The forecasts are less promising for any relief from dryness, and that is helping to lift prices,” Bill Nelson, a senior economist at Doane Advisory Services Co. in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview. “Plants are beginning to suffer, and dry weather into the first half of February could cause yield losses.”

Soybean futures for March delivery gained 0.3 percent to close at $14.5175 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price climbed for the third-straight session, the longest rally since Dec. 6.

Corn futures for March delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $7.295 a bushel. The grain has jumped 4.5 percent this month after the U.S. government said domestic inventories on Dec. 1 fell to the lowest in nine years.

The U.S. was the largest producer and exporter of both crops 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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