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GRAINS-Rising export demand pushes wheat, soybeans higher

Mark Weinraub
Monday, 13 Jan 2014 | 3:08 PM ET

* Egypt purchase buoys wheat market

* Soybeans firm on strong USDA export inspections

* Corn closes firm after early weakness

(Recasts, updates with closing prices, adds new analyst quote)

CHICAGO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. soybeans and wheat futures rose on Monday, with a pickup in export demand supporting both commodities, traders said.

Corn futures also closed higher, feeding off the strength of soybeans and wheat, but gains were kept in check by profit-taking following a 5 percent rally on Friday.

Wheat rebounded from a four-session losing streak that pushed prices to 3-1/2 year lows following a long-awaited U.S. Agriculture Department report on Friday that said that domestic and global supplies were bigger than expected.

The pullback in prices last week sparked a snap tender from Egypt, the world's top buyer of the grain. Egypt made its first purchase of U.S. wheat of the 2013/14 marketing year during the weekend and provided a peg for wheat futures' firm open.

"We've found a good fundamental support factor for wheat," one European trader said.

Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat for March delivery settled up 4-1/2 cents at $5.73-1/2 a bushel. The benchmark wheat contract fell 6.1 percent during its four days of declines.

MGEX spring wheat and KCBT hard red winter wheat, which did not post as big a decline as CBOT wheat did last week, fell on Monday.

CBOT March soybeans were 15-3/4 cents higher at $12.94-1/4 a bushel.

The USDA said on Monday morning that U.S. export inspections for soybeans were 59.381 million bushels, beating forecasts for 45 million to 50 million. The agency also said that private exporters reported the sale of 140,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to unknown destinations.

"The main thing is we fed the bull with the export inspections jumping and outpacing last week's number," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics. "So we are not trimming near-term demand, in shipments. The USDA report (on Friday) did not feed the bull, but today's numbers changed that."

CBOT March corn was up 1-3/4 cents at $4.34-1/2 a bushel. Prices had weakened early but found some technical support near their 50-day moving average of $4.30 a bushel.

The USDA on Friday pegged 2013/14 U.S. corn production at 13.925 billion bushels, still a record but below its previous estimate and the consensus of analyst estimates, as it cut average yield rather than increasing it like the trade had anticipated.

Prices at 1:59 p.m. CST (1959 GMT)

LAST NET PCT YTD

CHG CHG CHG

CBOT corn 434.50 1.75 0.4% 3.0% CBOT soy 1326.75 23.00 1.8% 1.1% CBOT meal 446.90 11.70 2.7% 2.1% CBOT soyoil 37.57 -0.38 -1.0% -3.2% CBOT wheat 573.50 4.50 0.8% -5.2% CBOT rice 1553.50 -3.50 -0.2% 0.2% #VALUE! US crude 91.53 -1.18 -1.3% -7.0% Dow Jones 16,291 -145 -0.9% -1.7% Gold 1253.05 6.35 0.5% 4.0% Euro/dollar 1.3672 0.0004 0.0% 0.1% Dollar Index 80.5100 -0.1480 -0.2% 0.6% Baltic Freight 1395 -117 -7.7% -38.7%

In U.S. cents, benchmark contracts, except EU wheat (euros) and soymeal (dollars). CBOT wheat, corn and soybeans per bushel, rice per hundredweight, soymeal per ton and soyoil per lb.

(Additional reporting by Julie Ingwersen in Chicago and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)