Glencore's agriculture operations, a blot on group results last year because of cotton losses, proved a top performer over the summer, leading a "healthy improvement" in the commodities trading result.
The Swiss-based zinc-to-wheat giant said that its much-watched marketing operations, renowned as fierce global competitors, "have continued to trade strongly".
Trading at the agriculture operations, which on Wednesday sealed 180,000 tonnes of a 300,000-tonne wheat import order by Egypt, was "particularly strong", the group said in a trading update for the July-to-September quarter.
The performance builds on an improvement in the first half of the year, which saw operating profits in agricultural marketing rise 24% on an 11% rise in revenues, after the operations fell into a loss on 2011, undermined by cotton market volatility and defaults.
In agricultural production, Glencore unveiled a 14.2% rise to 2.5m tonnes in output, despite a slump of more than one-third in harvest results at its farming operations.
These are based largely in Russia and Ukraine, countries which suffered drought-depleted grain crops this year, besides in Argentina, which suffered weather damage to its harvests earlier in 2013.
However, the group's, Brazil-based, sugar and ethanol mills processed 578,000 tonnes of cane, a 52% jump year on year, boosted by capacity expansions as well as a broadly improved harvest in the top producing country.
Oilseeds processing volumes rose 32%, spurred by the acquisition of crushing plants in the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine, and the opening of a site in Hungary.
Stronger results in European oilseeds processing have also been reported by rivals such as Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland, which this week, even while reporting a drop in profits, said that its "soybean and rapeseed crushing earnings improved significantly" in the region during the July-to-September period.
'Strongly competitive position'
Glencore said that its group performance in the quarter had been "good, despite generally weaker commodity prices", which were depressed, in grains and oilseeds, by the seasonal jump in supplies fostered by the US harvest, and in coffee and sugar by better Brazilian harvests than many expected.
The company added that, while it was "not assuming any short-term material improvement" in world economic conditions, its "strong relationships" in marketing, and "capital-efficient" mine expansions, had put it in a "strongly competitive position".
Glencore shares closed 0.4% higher to 344.6p in London.