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Soybeans Reach Six-Week High on Threats to South American Crops

Soybeans rose to a six-week high in Chicago on speculation that hot, dry weather in Argentina and rains in Brazil will curb supplies of the oilseed.

This year’s crop in Argentina, the world’s third-biggest exporter, may be 52.9 million metric tons, a Bloomberg survey showed, less than the 54 million tons forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will update its estimates on Feb. 8. Soybeans in southern Brazil, set to pass the U.S. as the leading shipper, remain under high stress, forecaster DTN said Feb. 1.

“The outlook in the next seven to 10 days will be generally unfavorable for soybean crops in Argentina and Brazil,” Erin Fitzpatrick, a London-based analyst at Rabobank International, said by phone today.

Soybeans for delivery in March advanced 0.9 percent to $14.8775 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade by 1:50 p.m. London time. Prices reached $14.9075, the highest since Dec. 18, extending a fourth weekly gain.

Soybeans and corn in southern Brazil were affected by more than three weeks of dry and sometimes hot weather, while rains continued to hit parts of the states of Mato Grosso and Goias, probably delaying harvest progress, DTN said. Wet weather in parts of Brazil can impede soybean gathering and interfere with transportation, according to Fitzpatrick.

No Rain

Soybean and corn prices will remain supported by weather forecasts that “don’t predict any significant rain this week for Argentina,” Paris-based farm adviser Agritel wrote in a market comment today.

Corn for delivery in March gained 0.3 percent to $7.38 a bushel and wheat for delivery in the same month advanced 0.6 percent to $7.6975 a bushel. In Paris, milling wheat for delivery in March was unchanged at 248.50 euros ($337.53) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

World corn and soybean inventories before next year’s Northern Hemisphere harvests probably will be smaller than predicted last month by the USDA, according to analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Wheat reserves may increase from the previous estimate, it showed.

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