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CHICAGO: US soyabean and corn futures steadied near recent highs on Thursday, with strong export demand and dry weather in Brazil underpinning the market. Soyabean prices hit their highest in more than 2-1/2 years on Thursday morning while corn peaked at its highest in nearly a year.

Wheat futures dropped 1.9% on a profit-taking setback after hitting their highest in more than five years.

Traders said that investment funds were squaring positions ahead the US Agriculture Department's monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production reports that will be released on Friday. Analysts expected the report would show a lower government forecast for US corn and soyabean harvests.

A fresh round of export deals, which included sales to China and Mexico supported soyabeans. Additionally, the US Agriculture Department said that weekly soyabean export sales totalled 2.591 million tonnes last week, the fifth straight week in which sales have topped 2 million tonnes.

"We had the great exports this morning," said Mark Gold, founder of Top Third Ag Marketing. At 11:18 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade November soyabean futures were unchanged at $10.51 a bushel. Prices peaked at $10.69, the highest since March 8, 2018.

CBOT December corn was up 1/4 cent at $3.89 after topping out at $3.94-1/2, the highest for the most-active contract since Oct. 18. USDA said that corn export sales for the week were 1.226 million tonnes, near the high end of market expectations.

CBOT December wheat was 11-1/2 cents lower at $5.96 a bushel. Wheat rallied 6.5% during the previous four sessions. The most-active contract hit its highest since June 30, 2015 overnight.