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CHICAGO: Chicago soybeans futures hit a two-week high on Wednesday as hot and dry weather in parts of the US Midwest through early August threaten to degrade conditions during a crucial soybean plant development phase.

Wheat eased as an agreement to reopen Ukrainian maritime grain exports moved forward, despite recent missile attacks from Russia on port facilities in Odesa and Mykolaiv.

Corn futures traded near even, pressured by wheat but underpinned by eroding US crop conditions.

The most-active soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) rose 28-1/2 cents to $14.12-1/4 a bushel, as of 11:38 a.m. (1638 GMT), after reaching $14/16-1/2, its highest since July 12.

Corn added 2-3/4 cents to $6.03-1/2 a bushel while wheat fell 7-1/2 cents to $7.96-1/4 a bushel.

Recent rainfall across parts of the US Midwest aided corn crops during pollination, but a lack of moisture in upcoming forecasts could hurt soybean plants as they develop pods, said Brian Hoops, senior market analyst at Midwest Market Solutions.

“The forecast in August is for hot, dry conditions, which would rob yields on soybeans. With balance sheets already extremely tight, we can’t afford to lose any yields in the soy complex.” Wheat futures were pressured as a grain coordination center is being established in Istanbul to coordinate Ukrainian grain exports under a deal signed by Russia and Ukraine on Friday and brokered by Ankara and the United Nations.

“They’re saying that grain could be flowing later this week. That’s got the wheat market under pressure,” said Jeff French, Owner of Ag Hedgers.

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