COMMODITIES-Corn hits record high; Brent oil up for 5th day

Thu Aug 9, 2012 6:04pm EDT

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* Corn surges above $8.29/barrel, highest ever for the grain
    * Brent crude up 1 pct on dropping output, encouraging US
data

    By Barani Krishnan
    NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Corn prices hit record highs on
Thursday as investors girded for the U.S. government to slash
its crop output foreast after the worst drought in half a
century, and benchmark Brent crude rose for a fifth day on
encouraging economic data.
    Soybeans also rallied, up 3 percent for the day's
biggest gain on the Chicago Board of Trade, after confirmation
that top consumer China had bought a fresh supply of U.S. soy.
    In other crop markets, cocoa ended at a nine-month high and
at technically overbought levels, partly due to weather concerns
in West Africa. Raw sugar dropped for an eighth straight day and
to a 6-week low on ample Brazilian supplies. 
    Copper ended down in London and gold rose in very thin New
York trade.  
    The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, the
commodity market bellwether, hit a three-month high as more than
half of the 19 markets it tracked settled higher.
    U.S. corn rose 1 percent to a record high of
$8.29-3/4 per bushel, before settling at $8.23-3/4.
    A Reuters poll of 21 analysts this week pegged the U.S. corn
yield at 127 bushels per acre, the lowest since 1997, with
production at a six-year low, ahead of the USDA August crop
report due on Friday.
    The USDA report has taken on extra importance since the
estimates will be based on surveys of farmers and its own
experts inspecting fields for the first time since the drought
began to rally prices in mid-June. 
    Oil prices were lifted by stronger-than-expected U.S.
economic data, a lower outlook for North Sea Brent production
and persistent hopes for economic stimulus.
    London's Brent crude closed up $1.08, or 1 percent,
at $113.22 a barrel, the highest settlement for front-month
Brent since May 3. The session high was $113.43. U.S. crude
recovered settled a penny higher at $93.36.
    "The general mood is bullish - any dip is still being used
as a buying opportunity," said Carsten Fritsch, an energy
analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
    "Given the supply risk, with falling North Sea output and
the closure of three oil ports in Mexico, all this should lend
support to prices," he added. 
    Analysts said economic data also fed investor hopes for U.S.
growth prospects and the energy demand outlook. New claims for
jobless benefits in the United States fell last week, and a
separate report showed the trade deficit in June was the
smallest in 1-1/2 years. 

 Prices at 5:45 p.m. EDT (2145 GMT)      
                             LAST/      NET    PCT     YTD
                             CLOSE      CHG    CHG     CHG
 US crude                     0.00     0.00   0.0% -100.0%
 Brent crude                113.38     1.24   1.1%    5.6%
 Natural gas                 2.945    0.000   0.0%   -1.5%
 
 US gold                   1620.20     4.20   0.3%    3.4%
 Gold                      1616.39     5.10   0.3%    3.4%
 US Copper                  342.50     0.35   0.1%   -0.3%
                              
 Dollar                     82.601    0.207   0.3%    3.0%
 CRB                       304.810    0.490   0.2%   -0.2%
 
 US corn                    823.75    10.25   1.3%   27.4%
 US soybeans               1631.25    50.00   3.2%   36.1%
 US wheat                   930.00    12.50   1.4%   42.5%
 
 US Coffee                  166.45    -4.05  -2.4%  -27.1%
 US Cocoa                  2463.00     0.00   0.0%   16.8%
 US Sugar                    20.99    -0.38  -1.8%   -9.6%
 
 US silver                  28.097    0.022   0.1%    0.7%
 US platinum               1411.70     2.60   0.2%    0.5%
 US palladium               586.70     0.20   0.0%  -10.6%
 
 (Editing by David Gregorio)
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