* Spot soybeans hit record high on concerns of drought
* Front-month corn hits record top
* Wheat hits 4-year high
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY, July 19 U.S. soybeans rose to a record
high on Thursday, while front-month corn scaled an all-time high
as weather maps showed no sign of an end to a drought that has
damaged U.S. crops and provoked concern about food supplies.
Wheat tracked corn higher, with spot wheat firming to a
Chicago Board Of Trade August soybeans rose 1.56
percent to $17.10-3/4 a bushel, a record high for the contract,
while November soybeans, the most actively traded
contract, rose 1.34 percent to $16.41-3/4 a bushel.
"Soybeans are entering their pollination stage now later
than corn, and so the weather will be a bigger factor for
soybeans at the moment," said Lynette Tan, investment analyst at
Spot corn rose 1.19 percent to $8.04-1/2 a bushel,
surpassing the previous high of $7.99-3/4 a bushel set back in
December corn rose 1.18 percent to $7.93-1/2 a bushel
after finishing up 1.7 percent on Wednesday.
September wheat rose 1.66 percent to $9.18-1/4 a
bushel, its highest level since 2008.
TIGHT SUPPLY HITS ETHANOL, SOYMEAL
U.S. crops have withered as a result of the worst drought
since 1956, and updated weather maps showed more crop-damaging
weather in the U.S. Midwest where the drought is centered, with
the light rain forecast for the region's west and southwest
unlikely to provide much relief for crops.
Analysts believe the drought is likely to damage crops even
further than the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast: a
Reuters poll suggested the drought was continuing to shrink the
U.S. corn and soy crops.
The anticipated decline in grain and oilseed supplies is
having a significant impact on producers.
Soymeal futures jumped 0.7 percent on Thursday to an
all-time high of $517.8 per tonne, as the shrinking corn crop
reduced feed supplies in the United States.
U.S. ethanol output also fell 2.3 percent last week to its
lowest level since the government began tracking the data in
June 2010 as near-record-high corn prices and slumping fuel
demand dragged margins at many plants into the red.
Ethanol production slipped for a fifth straight week,
dropping to 802,000 barrels per day, down 19,000 bpd, in the
week ended July 13, the Energy Information Administration said.
Worldwide wheat supplies may also suffer as the Black Sea
region endures its own drought. Drought in South America has
also reduced crop output in that region.
Kazakhstan said it expected a below-average crop this year
due to drought in its northern grain belt. Its grain crop may
decline 48 percent to 14 million tonnes this year from last
year's post-Soviet record.
Russia may also export just 10 million tonnes of wheat this
year, down 64 percent from last year's record of 28 million
tonnes, due to low stocks and a drought in southern regions,
analyst SovEcon said.
Grains prices at 0742 GMT
Contract Last Change Pct chg Two-day chg MA 30 RSI
CBOT wheat 918.25 15.00 +1.66% +39.76% 623.27 89
CBOT corn 793.50 9.25 +1.18% +20.50% 615.04 76
CBOT soy 1641.75 21.75 +1.34% +33.75% 1169.04 81
CBOT rice $15.65 $0.12 +0.74% +6.86% $14.47 73
WTI crude $90.58 $0.71 +0.79% -12.02% $98.54 72
Euro/dlr $1.231 -$0.063 -4.89% -5.67%
USD/AUD 1.041 0.004 +0.41% +0.39%
Most active contracts
Wheat, corn and soy US cents/bushel. Rice: USD per hundredweight
RSI 14, exponential
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)