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Soybeans lead commodity prices higher

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Agricultural commodities headed higher on Tuesday, boosted by renewed concerns over weather and a bright start on other financial markets.

Soybeans were notable on the winners' board, helped by continuing concerns over South America's drought-stricken crop. May soybeans stood 9 cents higher at $10.03 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Weather also helped Chicago wheat added 2 cents to $5.59 ½ a bushel, with a cold snap moving across the US winter wheat belt, including states, such as Texas, where seedlings have been struggling to cope with a lack of moisture. US Department of Agriculture data late on Monday rated 64% of the Texas winter wheat crop as poor or very poor. In Oklahoma, 37% of the crop was struggling and in Kansas, 17%.

A report that Iran had raised its wheat import target by 2.18m tonnes for its 2009-10 marketing year, which began last month, further improved sentiment. Exports are now set to reach 7m tonnes.

Corn prices softened, however, with the May contract down 1.5 cents at $4.04 a bushel in early deals.

In the Far East, palm oil lost early gains, despite progress in crude prices, with traders proving reluctant to take large positions until Friday's crop data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

The benchmark June contract stood at 2,145 ringgit a tonne in afternoon trade on Bursa Malaysia, level with last night's close and below an earlier high of 2,192 ringgit a tonne.

On the oil markets, Brent crude was $0.42 higher at $52.66 a barrel in London.

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