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Evening markets: soybeans touch three-month high

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Soybean investors looked likely to be buying the drinks yet again after the commodity put in another solid day – hitting a three-month high -while other grains floundered.

Chicago's May soybean contract proved unable to hold on to the $10.55 cents a bushel it hit in morning trade, the highest for a most-active contract since January. But, at $10.45 ¼ at 17:00 GMT, up 10.25 cents on the day, it still left most other food commodities in the shade.

The continued strength was helped by US data showing exports of 810,000 tonnes of soybeans last week, at the top end of market expectations, and talk that China was determined to stockpile beans, whatever the cost.

Supply, however, continues to appear squeezed, with the Buenos Aires grains exchange late on Wednesday cutting its estimate of Argentina's parched 2008-09 soy crop by 2.4m tonnes to 37m tonnes.

Vic Lespinasse at GrainAnalyst.com, said: "Aggressive specukatuve buying has been seen in beans, especially from locals and funds."

Corn slips

Productions levels, however, do not look a problem for US corn, which continues to enjoy favourable planting weather in key districts. May corn stood 2.5 cents lower at $3.82 cents a bushel in late trade despite US export data showing more than 1m tonnes of corn sold for export last week, well above analysts' estimates.

Wheat teetered around par as traders balanced somewhat uninspiring US export data against a forecast of wet weather which would further delay planting in America's spring wheat region.

May wheat stood 0.5 cents higher at $5.15 ¾ a bushel, in line with European prices. London's May contract added £0.25 to £106.15 a tonne, with wheat adding E1.00 to E136.75 a tonne in Paris.

Cocoa turns sour

Among soft commodities, May orange juice crawled 0.4 cents higher to 83.25 cents a pound in New York as concerns for Florida's Valencia crop continued to demand attention.

New York sugar succumbed to profit taking following a strong recent run caused by India's decision to remove import duty. The May contract was 2.3% lower at 12.84 cents a pound.

And London cocoa dropped 2.5% to £1,685 a tonne for the July contract as traders continued to digest Europe's 11.1% drop in first-quarter grindings.

By Mike Verdin

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