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CHICAGO: Chicago soybean futures surged on Friday, reaching highs not seen since last summer, as the market anticipated drought losses in South America that could curb global export supplies.

Wheat rose after a two-day slide, attracting bargain-buying and traders hunting for short-covering, as investors closely monitor a standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine that has fuelled fears of disruption to Black Sea grain shipments.

And corn futures gained with the rally in beans and wheat, with corn reaching more than a seven-month high in midday trading. Corn also saw support from strength in the crude oil markets.

The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade (CBOT) settled the day up 21-3/4 cents at $14.70 per bushel. Earlier in the session, it reached $14.79 per bushel, the highest price since June 15.

CBOT corn settled up 10-3/4 cents at $6.36 a bushel, while CBOT wheat settled up 9-1/4 cents at $7.86-1/4 per bushel.

While rainfall in Argentina since mid-January has eased drought, analysts expected yields to have already been reduced for soy and corn crops in much of Argentina and also southern Brazil.

Lower forecasts for South American crops have raised expectations of increased US exports, tempering concerns about a lull in Chinese demand in recent months.

Private exporters reported sales of 264,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, 141,514 tonnes of soybeans to Mexico, and 251,500 tonnes of soybeans to unknown destinations, the US Agriculture Department said.

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