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Corn futures close at 3-month highs

02/05/2014 @ 3:19pm

U.S. corn futures rose to the highest level in more than three months Wednesday, supported by signs of stronger export demand. Wheat and soybeans also gained.

Corn for March delivery at the Chicago Board of Trade climbed 1 1/2 cents, or 0.3%, to $4.43 1/4 a bushel, the highest settlement price since Oct. 21. Corn futures for later delivery dates declined.

Corn importers have been snapping up U.S. inventories in recent weeks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday reported that private exporters had sold 236,728 metric tons of the grain to unknown destinations. The USDA said 185,928 tons is for delivery in the marketing year ending Aug. 31, while 50,800 tons is for delivery in the next season.

Corn futures also got a lift Wednesday from heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures in the U.S. Midwest. Such weather limits farmers' ability to transport grain, driving up cash prices.

"To get these guys out on icy roads moving grain, you have to give them incentive," said Doug Bergman, a vice president with brokerage RCM Asset Management in Chicago. "And with the weather like it is, you have to give them more of an incentive."

Wheat futures rose to a nearly one-month high as traders and investors who had bet on lower prices bought back their contracts and closed positions.

CBOT March wheat added 3 cents, or 0.5%, to $5.87 1/2 a bushel, the highest settlement price since Jan. 8. Wheat prices had fallen for much of the past three months before surging 3.7% on Tuesday, the biggest gain in 10 months, as dryness and cold triggered concerns about the health of winter-wheat crops in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Soybean futures edged higher, bolstered by strong demand for the oilseeds.

CBOT March soybeans rose 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $13.16 1/4 a bushel, the highest closing price since Jan. 17.


Write to David Kesmodel at david.kesmodel@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 05, 2014 15:31 ET (20:31 GMT)
DJ Grain, Soybean Futures Rise; Corn Hits 3-Month High -- Update->copyright

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