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Corn Prices Rise 5.6% after Report of Tight Supplies

09/28/2012 | 04:06pm US/Eastern

--U.S. corn futures settle limit-up on USDA report of lower-than-expected domestic inventories

--Wheat rises on lower inventories than expected, plus higher corn prices

--Soybeans follow corn higher despite higher inventories figure than expected

CHICAGO--U.S. corn futures jumped by their exchange-imposed daily limit Friday, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported lower-than-expected domestic inventories of the grain.

Corn futures for December delivery settled up 40 cents, or 5.6%, at $7.56 1/4 a bushel.

Domestic corn inventories totaled 988 million bushels as of Sept. 1, the lowest level in eight years, the USDA said Friday in a closely watched quarterly grain stocks report. Analysts polled earlier by Dow Jones had predicted stocks of 1.126 billion bushels.

The USDA report shifted traders' focus back to tight supplies, instead of the concerns about softer demand that had helped pressure prices in recent weeks.

Wheat futures also jumped on lower-than-expected inventories. The USDA reported stocks of wheat on Sept. 1 were 2.104 billion bushels, below the average analyst prediction of 2.281 billion bushels. The below-view figure suggests more wheat was substituted for corn in animal feed over the summer than previously expected, analysts said.

For soybeans, the USDA's inventories figure was larger than expected, leading to mixed trading early on. But soybeans gradually gained strength on the back of corn prices and ended higher. Soybean inventories on Sept. 1 were 169 million bushels, above the average analyst prediction of 132 million bushels.

Chicago Board of Trade December wheat settled up 47 cents or 5.5% at $9.02 1/2 a bushel. November soybeans settled up 30 1/4 cents or 1.9% at $16.01 a bushel.

Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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