U.S. grain futures soared Wednesday to their highest levels in at least two weeks, with corn surging 4 percent, on track for its fifth daily rise and the longest rally since December.
Wheat futures rose for the third straight day and are on track for the biggest three-day rise since March 2008 amid crop weather problems in the United States and Europe.
The gains came as commodities staged a broad rally, with oil surging 3.6 percent past the key $100-a-barrel mark and gold crossing $1,500 an ounce.
Wheat futures rose 5.5 percent to a month-high on the continuous chart, up for a third straight day amid concerns over the weather in the United States and Europe.
More rain has been forecast for the grain belt, which would delay corn planting in the world's largest exporter further, dimming yield prospects and planted area falling far short of the 92.2 million acres forecast by the government.
The United States must produce a bumper corn crop to replenish extremely low stocks. End-users in cash markets are scrambling to buy corn, pushing basis values higher.
Signs of trouble in the French crop also boosted wheat futures. A long drought has prompted analysts to slash forecasts for the country's output.
Funds were active buyers.
"There is fresh money coming now, another round of fund buying on weather fears. We broke above technical levels and I think everyone is worried now about prevented plantings," said Justin Kelly, an analyst for Iowa Grain.
U.S. wheat is up more than 16 percent this week on more supply concerns, with adverse crop weather seen for weeks ahead.
Excessive rains and flooding in the United States have delayed corn and spring wheat plantings, and more rain is forecast. Drought has ravaged the winter wheat crop, which is now being harvested. The French drought is growing worse.
Chicago Board of Trade July wheat surged through key resistance points at 50- and 200-day moving averages as the nearby contract rose 5.8 percent to $8.08-1/4.
At 11:32 a.m. CDT, U.S. July corn was up 3.6 percent at $7.46-1/2 a bushel, and soybeans for July delivery rose 2.5 percent to $13.74-3/4 a bushel, pushing through chart resistance at its 50-day moving average.
The trendline resistance for July soybeans is at $13.80.
July corn futures briefly rose by the 30-cent daily trading limit.
In addition to planting delays, wet and cold conditions in eastern and southern areas of the U.S. Midwest have raised concerns about harm to the soft red winter wheat crop.
The western U.S. corn belt also had frost for the second straight day this week, raising concerns about newly emerged corn plants, a forecaster said on Tuesday.
U.S. farmers made progress seeding their rain-delayed corn crop last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop progress report, but many still feared the pace was too slow to replenish extremely low stocks.
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