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SINGAPORE: Chicago most-active soybean and corn futures both stretched to fresh seven-month highs during Asian trading hours on Monday, as traders fixated on how a possible downturn in crop supplies from South America could underpin demand for US crops.

March soybean futures peaked at $14.96-3/4 a bushel in early trade on Monday, before easing to around 14.92-3/4 by 05:50 GMT. March corn followed a similar path and held around $6.41 a bushel throughout.

Trading volumes were light, with market participants in China and elsewhere in Asia observing the Lunar New Year holiday. China's main futures markets are closed until Feb. 7.

Concerns about dry conditions hurting crops in South America have underpinned global grain and oilseed market sentiment so far in 2022, helping US soybean and corn futures make steady gains as traders try to price in how lost supplies in Brazil and Argentina will impact demand for US crops.

Soybeans surge on weather concerns; wheat rises after slide

Argentina may have left the worst of its summer drought behind, but the risk of dry weather to the country's crops remains real, the Rosario grains exchange said in its latest weather analysis.

March soybean futures have gained over 11% this year, while March corn is up over 8% as the two crops gear up to fight for acreage in the United States this spring.

Chicago wheat was also firmer, as traders price in how the standoff over Ukraine may impact wheat export flows from the key Black Sea region.

Speculators ramped up bullish views in Chicago corn and soybeans last week with futures notching or nearing new highs, but despite the unusually strong optimism, investors are much less invested than a year ago.

Elsewhere, India is likely to set aside about 3 trillion rupees ($40 billion) on food and fertiliser subsidies in its budget next week for 2022/23, officials said, roughly the same amount the government budgeted for this fiscal year ending in March.

Brent crude climbed over 1% Monday to above $91 a barrel, and is on course for its best month since February 2021.

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