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Corn, wheat close higher

Updated: 01/21/2011 @ 2:00pm

CHICAGO, Illinois (Agriculture.com)--The CME Group corn and wheat markets closed higher from increased demand Friday.

The March corn futures settled 3 1/4 cents higher at $6.57 1/4. The March soybean contract closed 2 cents lower at $14.12 1/4.  The March wheat futures closed 21 cents higher at $8.24 1/2. March soybean meal futures settled $5.78 lower per short ton at $379.54. The March soyoil futures ended $0.30 at $57.55.

In the outside markets, the NYMEX crude oil is $0.41 per barrel lower, the dollar is lower, and the Dow Jones Industrials are up 61 points.

Jack Scoville, PRICE Futures Group vice-president, says wheat especially is getting support from the strong USDA sales report, and corn got some support from it too.  "The weak sister is the beans, which had decent export sales on their own. I think the weakness for the soybeans is the surprise, after the big sales to China Thursday. Plus, more soybean sales to China may be announced late Friday."

However, the Brazil harvest is starting, too, and that seems to be as big an issue as anything right now.  Plus, Argentina had some very beneficial rains this week, all negative to the soybean market, Scoville says.

"Wheat is the developing bull to me, and corn not far behind, with beans kind of old news now," Scoville says.

Informa, a private analytical firm, released bullish U.S. 2011 acreage estimates Friday, Scoville says. Informa estimated 2011 corn acres at 90.9 million, up from Dec.'s estimate of 90.76. For soybeans, acreage was pegged at 76.65 million, down Dec. estimate 77.57. The firm estimates 2011 wheat acres at 40.99 million, up from 39.502 in Dec estimate. Also, cotton was estimated at 13.34 million, up 294,000 in Dec.

In other news, private exporters reported to the USDA Friday export sales of 150,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat for delivery to Jordan during the 2010/2011 marketing year.

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