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GRAINS-Corn hits 2-week high on short-covering,…

By Naveen Thukral

SINGAPORE, Aug 13 – Chicago corn rose to its highest level in more than two weeks on Thursday with short-covering driving up prices, although expectations of an all-time high U.S. crop capped gains.

Soybeans jumped to a one-week top, while wheat edged higher after closing lower in the previous session.

“U.S. corn at the current price is a good level to buy,” a Singapore-based grains trader said.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board Of Trade was up 1.5% at $3.32 a bushel, as of 0258 GMT, near the session high of $3.32-1/2 a bushel, highest since July 28.

Soybeans rose 0.7% to $8.89-1/4 a bushel after climbing to their highest since Aug. 4 at $8.89-1/2 a bushel earlier in the session, while wheat gained 0.3% at $4.92-1/2 a bushel.

Commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT corn, soybean, soyoil and soymeal futures contracts on Wednesday, and net sellers of wheat, traders said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in a monthly report, said U.S. farmers would reap their biggest corn harvest and second-biggest soybean harvest, buoyed by favourable weather.

The agency raised its ending stocks estimates for both crops, although corn stocks came in lower than analysts’ expectations.

The USDA said its production estimates were based on conditions as of Aug. 1 and did not include the impact of a storm that potentially impacted some 10 million acres of Iowa farmland.

There were concerns over storm damage in parts of the U.S. grain belt.

“Traders knew that the USDA would be forecasting enormous harvests for domestic corn and soybeans even before the outlook was published Wednesday, but that has not removed uncertainty about the size of the corn crop given Monday’s damaging storm,” wrote Karen Braun, a columnist for Reuters.

Russian agriculture consultancy Sovecon said on Wednesday it had raised its forecast for Russia’s 2020 wheat crop by 1.6 million tonnes to 80.9 million tonnes and for barley by 500,000 tonnes to 19.5 million tonnes due to high yields in several regions. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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