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Morning markets: soybeans lead crops higher

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Crops set course for a firm close to the week, helped by some end-of-month positioning amid higher hopes for the global economic recovery.

As Ceres Agriculture, the London-listed fund, said on Thursday, hopes of economic recovery have had a tendency of late of raising agricultural commodity prices.

Some upbeat US data - showing that US economy shrank less than expected in the second quarter, and that new jobless claims were falling – took their time to have an impact on Thursday. New York stocks staged a late recovery.

However, traders said they were helping prices of crops on Friday, and oil for that matter, which rebounded $0.43 top $72.92 a barrel by 06:40 GMT following two days of declines.

Pole position

In Chicago, soybeans were, once again, top of the heap, helped also by a continuing glow from strong US crush and export sales data.

The old-crop, September contract stood 14 cents higher at $11.28 ¼ a bushel, taking its gains since an August 17 low to 15.5%.

New crop November beans added 13.5 cents to $10.09 ½ a bushel, despite the prospects of further benign US weather ahead, increasing the chances of a huge crop, and weakening market fundamentals.

"Generally favourable conditions for pod setting and filling soybeans through the Midwest with adequate rainfall in most areas," Meterlogix, the weather forecaster, said.

Grains data

Corn added 1 cent to $3.24 cents a bushel for September delivery, with the December contract also 1 cent higher at $3.30 ¼ a bushel.

Wheat was the laggard in percentage terms, still feeling some impact from the International Grains Council's raise of 8m tonnes to its 2009-10 global production estimate.

The September contract added 1 cent to $4.76 a bushel, with December wheat up 0.75 cents at $5.03 ¾ a bushel.

Position squaring

The positive vibes reached as far as Kuala Lumpur, where palm oil closed the morning session on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange up 19 ringgit at 2,365 ringgit per tonne.

Some of that reflected a squaring of positions ahead of the month end, and long weekend, traders said.

However, they were also looking to better demand, particularly from India, given the poor monsoon.


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