COMMODITIES-Weather risks lift oil, grains; corn outperforms

Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:30am EDT

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By Manolo Serapio Jr

SINGAPORE, June 25 (Reuters) - Corn jumped more than 4 percent to four-month highs and oil rose for a second session on Monday, buoyed by risks to supply from drought and a storm in the United States.

Corn's gains spilled over to the rest of the agricultural market, with soybeans and palm oil rising more than 3 percent, while copper rebounded from a three-day slide amid optimism ahead of a summit to tackle the euro zone debt crisis.

The gains in commodities defied the weakness in other riskier assets, with Asian shares and the euro slipping on concern a European Union Summit later this week is unlikely to yield any concrete, much less bold, measures to resolve Europe's 2-1/2-year old crisis.

Corn led gains as dry weather in the U.S. Midwest threatened harvest of the world's top corn supplier at a time when the global market is relying on a bumper crop to replenish tight stocks. The U.S. corn stockpile is projected to fall to a 16-year low by Aug. 31.

Chicago Board of Trade corn for December delivery rose as much as 4.4 percent to $5.78-1/2 per bushel, its loftiest since Feb. 7. By 0552 GMT, it was up 4.3 percent at $5.77-3/4.

CBOT November soybeans climbed 3.5 percent to $14.23, just off a contract high of $14.24-/12. July wheat rose 2.4 percent to $6.89-1/2, near the session high of $6.91-1/2, a level last seen on May 22.

"It is very much a weather-related rally in this session," said Luke Mathews, commodities strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"Corn and soybeans are drawing support from dryness in the eastern corn-belt in the United States and wheat is drawing support from dryness in Ukraine and Russia."

Malaysian crude palm oil rose as much as 3.6 percent as lower U.S. soybean harvest could curb supply of soybean oil and boost demand for the cheaper palm oil.

Corn and soybean futures in China's Dalian hit their highest since early May.

STORM AHEAD

Although far from the steep gains in the agriculture markets, supply worries also lifted oil prices after U.S. companies shut nearly a quarter of the nation's oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico as a precaution ahead of Tropical Storm Debby.

The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is home to about 20 percent of the nation's oil production.

Recovering from two straight weeks of losses, Brent crude rose 45 cents to $91.43 a barrel. U.S. oil gained 47 cents to $80.23.

Copper rose 1 percent to $7,383 a tonne, after hitting six-month lows on Friday, as investors responded positively to news that the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain together backed a 130-billion euro ($163 billion)package to revive growth in the euro zone.

Investors are closely watching the EU leaders summit on Thursday and Friday, bracing for disappointment but keen to put money to work on any signs of a unified and comprehensive plan to tackle the region's 30-month-long debt crisis.

"The success of the summit can probably best be measured by whether it achieves a meaningful and lasting decline in Spain's bond yields," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note. ($1 = 0.7977 euros) (Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral and Florence Tan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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