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Soybeans Drop as Rain May Boost South America Crop; Corn Steady

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Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Soybeans fell from a six-week high after rain overnight in Argentina eased concern that dry weather was dimming prospects for bigger harvests in South America. Corn was little changed.

Parts of Argentina received as much as 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain in the past day, and more than half the farms will get additional showers during the next two nights, the Commodity Weather Group LLC said in a report. Precipitation will move to southern Brazil in the next six to 10 days, the forecaster said. Combined soybean output by the two countries will rise 28 percent to a record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Jan. 11.

“Better-than-expected rains in Argentina and more in the forecast have taken the edge off worries about crop losses,” Brian Grete, the senior market analyst at the Professional Farmers of America newsletter in Cedar Falls, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Rains will slow any crop deterioration and keep the focus on the potential for record soybean production in South America.”

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.7 percent to close at $14.685 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices earlier touched $14.8425, the highest since Dec. 18. The oilseed gained 4.2 percent in January, the first increase since August.

Corn futures for March delivery gained less than 0.1 percent to $7.405 a bushel in Chicago, after touching $7.445, the highest since Dec. 7. The grain climbed 6.1 percent in January, the first advance since July.

Corn is the biggest U.S. 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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