By Jesse Newman

CHICAGO--Soybean futures rose to the highest level in more than four months Monday, buoyed by optimism over international demand for the oilseeds. Wheat dropped while corn was mixed.

Soybean prices rallied for a seventh straight session as promising export data fueled another bout of buying by commodity funds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday said more than two million metric tons of soybeans were inspected for export last week, which neared the high end of analyst expectations. Soybean inspections, as well as export sales, have been unusually strong for this time of year. That is welcome news for U.S. farmers, who recently harvested what is likely to the biggest crop on record and are looking to export markets to help eat into ample supplies of the oilseeds.

Still, without any significant weather hiccups in South America, analysts expect rival soybean exporters in Brazil and Argentina to ramp up shipments in coming months, which typically weighs on demand for U.S. crops.

Craig Turner, senior broker at Daniels Trading in Chicago, said some analysts believe soybean prices have reached levels that would be warranted only if serious weather problems emerged in South America.

"I think the more important scenario to consider is what if South America has weather issues," he said. "In theory we would see even more money pile into the long soybean trade taking us to $11.00 [a bushel] and beyond."

Soybean futures for January climbed 10 cents, or 1%, to $10.56 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest closing price since July 18.

Wheat prices, meanwhile, fell to a three-month low, pressured by an outlook for improving U.S. growing conditions and abundant supplies of the grain. Analysts said forecasts for rainfall in key wheat-growing states in the southern Plains--including Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas--could ease dryness there, which could be helpful for crop yields.

The wetter forecasts come amid an oversupply of grain in the U.S. and abroad, where inventories are at an all-time high.

CBOT December wheat fell 6 1/4 cents, or 1.6%, to $3.89 1/2 a bushel, the lowest closing price since Aug. 26.

CBOT December corn futures shed 3/4 cent, or 0.2%, to $3.48 1/2 a bushel. March-dated contracts were flat while May-dated contracts edged higher.

Write to Jesse Newman at jesse.newman@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 28, 2016 15:58 ET (20:58 GMT)

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