By Jesse Newman

CHICAGO-Soybean futures rose to a 5-week high Friday, bolstered by ongoing concerns over South American weather and friendly federal crop data issued in the previous session.

Corn and wheat ticked mostly higher.

Prices for the oilseeds gained amid forecasts for heavy rains over the weekend in Argentina, where excess precipitation already has flooded some soybean fields. More wet weather could curb harvests in Argentina, a key U.S. rival, potentially reducing output there and helping the U.S. to capture a greater share of world export business.

Soybean prices also drew strength from fresh supply-and-demand data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday. In a monthly report, the government said U.S. farmers had harvested a smaller crop of the oilseeds than previously anticipated, and that stockpiles in August also would be less burdensome than expected. That boosted optimism in the soybean market, as did the USDA's smaller projection for smaller world inventories.

Soybean futures for January delivery, the front-month contract, advanced 10 1/2 cents, or 1%, to $10.42 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest closing price since Dec. 7.

Higher prices for soybean meal, which rose 1.8% on Friday, also were supportive.

Prices for corn and wheat mostly eked out small gains after trading lower for much of the day. Grain markets were under pressure from USDA data showing domestic reserves of corn and wheat likely will swell to 29-year highs in August.

Higher soybean prices and icy conditions in the U.S. Plains, where much of the U.S. wheat crop is grown, ultimately helpedshore up grain markets ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

CBOT March corn added 1/4 cent, or 0.1%, to $3.58 1/2 a bushel.

CBOT March wheat shed 1/4 cent, or 0.1%, to $4.26 a bushel. Later-dated contracts closed higher.

Write to Jesse Newman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 13, 2017 16:01 ET (21:01 GMT)

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