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CHICAGO: US corn futures firmed on Monday, supported by concerns that hot and dry conditions in key growing areas of the US Midwest could threaten crops as they pass through key stages of development, traders said.

“Forecasters expect crop stress to build in the northwest half of the Corn Belt over the next two weeks as rains fall short,” Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at StoneX, said in a note to clients.

The weather forecast also provided support to new-crop soyabean futures but old-crop soyabeans eased on profit-taking after hitting their highest level since mid-May during the overnight trading session.

Wheat futures were mixed, with the most-active Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contracts trading close to unchanged while MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 2.5% from an eight-year high as rains provided relief to Canadian crops.

At 11:47 a.m. CDT (1647 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade July corn futures were up 3/4 cent at $6.83-1/2 a bushel while new-crop December corn gained 14-1/4 cents to $6.05-3/4 a bushel. Global supply estimates for corn are already shrinking amid sustained dry weather in Brazil and strong purchases by China.

The US Agriculture Department on Monday morning said that weekly export inspections of corn totalled 1.413 million tonnes, in line with market expectations. CBOT July soyabean futures were down 2-1/2 cents at $15.35 a bushel. CBOT November soyabeans, which track the crop that will be harvested this fall, were up 11-3/4 cents at $14.47-1/4 after hitting a contract high overnight.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures were down 1-1/2 cents at $6.86-1/4 a bushel, MGEX spring wheat for July delivery was 20 cents lower at $7.92-3/4 and K.C. July hard red winter wheat was down 2-1/4 cents at $6.34-1/4.

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