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CHICAGO/SINGAPORE: US corn, wheat and soybean futures were set to post yearly gains, with strong demand and supply constraints in some key production areas of the globe underpinning the markets throughout 2021.

Corn futures, which have jumped 23.4% this year, have paced the grain markets, supported by increased feed usage by livestock as well as a rebound in the ethanol sector as drivers returned to the roads due to easing COVID-19 restrictions. The corn market has risen for four years in a row.

Wheat futures were up 20.6% for the year and were on track for their fifth straight yearly gain and their biggest since 2010. Crop problems in Australia and worries about export curbs in Russia have supported the wheat market throughout 2021.

Soybean futures, which hit their highest level since 2012 in May, were up just 2.4% for the year, as a bumper harvest in the United States and good growing weather in Brazil have pressured prices during the fourth quarter.

Soybean and corn futures were firm on Friday in thin, technical-based trading following sharp declines a day earlier.

"The grains seemingly haven fallen far enough this week to more comfortable levels on the charts," Matt Zeller, director of market information at StoneX, said in a note to clients.

At 10:48 a.m. CST (1648 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for March delivery were up 3-3/4 cents at $13.42-1/4 a bushel and CBOT March corn was up 1-1/4 cents at $5.97-1/4 a bushel.

Wheat futures were weaker, pressured by forecasts for rain and snow that will help boost soil moisture in the US Plains, which will be beneficial to the dormant crop there.

CBOT March soft red winter wheat was down 8 cents at $7.71-3/4 a bushel. On a continuous basis, the most-active contract hit its lowest level since Dec. 20.

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