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Corn Gains as U.S. Inventories Seen Plunging; Soy, Wheat Decline

Corn rose for the seventh time in eight sessions on speculation that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will report that domestic stockpiles slipped to a 15-year low. Soybeans and wheat fell.

Inventories of corn on March 1 probably totaled 4.995 billion bushels, down 17 percent from a year earlier and the lowest for that date since 1998, according to a Bloomberg survey of 31 analysts. The USDA will issue its report on March 28. Supplies are tightening after last year’s drought, the worst since the 1930s, cut production by 13 percent to 10.78 billion bushels, government data show.

“The corn-stocks number is going to drive the market,” Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a partner at Summit Commodity Brokerage in Des Moines, Iowa, said by telephone.

Corn futures for May delivery advanced 1 percent to settle at $7.3325 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is up 4.2 percent this month. Soybean futures for May delivery slid 0.2 percent to $14.3725 a bushel in Chicago. The price is up 2 percent in 2013.

Wheat futures for May delivery fell 0.3 percent to $7.2725 a bushel on the CBOT on speculation that wet weather will aid crops in the southern Great Plains and eastern Midwest. The price is down 6.5 percent this year.

A storm that stretched from Colorado to Indiana dropped as much as an inch of moisture on dormant winter-wheat fields that are set to resume growth by next month, according to National Weather Service data. Warmer weather later this week will be “favorable” for the crop, forecaster Telvent DTN said in a report today.

“All of this moisture is having a positive effect on the wheat crop,” Pfitzenmaier said. “That’s the main negative for wheat prices right now.”

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