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Evening markets: crops' rebound gathers speed

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Crops' rebound gathered momentum through Thursday, helped by firm news on the US economy and a Goldman Sachs report which sent oil soaring.

Data showing that the number of US workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell for a third successive week dispelled some of the economic gloom left over from downbeat comments by Ben Bernanke, the chairman of America's Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs raised its end-of-year forecast for oil prices to $85 a barrel from $65 a barrel. Both New York crude and Brent crude stood 4.2% higher at 17:00 GMT.

'Buying agressively'

A weaker dollar, against the euro at least, added to the revelry in US commodity markets.

"Yesterday's huge sell off seems like ancient history now with the floorwide rally solidly back in place," Vic Lespinasse,'s veteran Chicago market watcher said.

"Funds, locals and commission houses are all in the act, buying aggressively."

China cancellations

Chicago soybeans for July surged 2.9% back through the $12 a bushel mark to $12.15 ¾ a bushel.

A bullish forecast from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation helped offset any disappointment at US sales export data which confirmed that China had cancelled 113,00 tonnes of soybean shipments.

July corn managed a similar gain to $4.44 ½ a bushel, with new crop contracts managing similar gains.

Sterling effort

But wheat was the main beneficiary, adding 3.0% to $6.36 a bushel and regaining a big chunk of the ground lost in Wednesday's rout.

The most resilient export sales figures of the bunch helped, at 88,000 tonnes for the old crop year, which closed on May 31, and 177,000 tonnes the new crop year.

European markets followed it higher. All Paris contracts ended E1.50 higher, taking August lots to E148.25 a tonne.

London was even firmer, helped by a weakening pound on rumours that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to go. July wheat added £2.25 to £122.25 a tonne and forward contracts all gained £1.75 a tonne.

Perverse cocoa

Among softs, New York coffee for July edged 0.7 cents higher to 139.05 cents a pound. Those liking sweeteners with their coffee managed a slightly better gain, with July sugar adding 0.14 cents to 15.03 cents a pound.

London sugar gained $6.60 to $442.70 a tonne, helped by sterling's slide.

Cocoa was, as seems it habit of late, the odd commodity out, slipping $12 to $2,745 a tonne for New York's September contract, with profit taking blamed for the decline.

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