CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended higher on outside market strength and underpinning support from the late-developing crop, analysts said.

December corn ended up 4 3/4 cents, to $3.38 3/4 per bushel, and March corn ended up 4 1/2 cents, to $3.51 1/4.

"I think it's still the same old broken record with the lagging maturity," said Marty Foreman, analyst with Doane Advisory Services.

Harvest is getting underway only in some far southern growing areas, analysts said. That slow development is making traders just nervous enough to keep risk premium in the market, given the colder weather descending upon the Midwest this week, with frost possible in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

Still, no major frost is expected in the heart of the corn belt for at least the next several days. Traders said the market is likely to remain rangebound, with little upside potential due to the weather.

Corn was supported Monday by outside markets, including higher crude oil and equities.

The trade is also awaiting Wednesday's quarterly grain stocks report. The trade expects the stocks, the final for the marketing year, to be higher than they were a year ago.

"You're going to have a bearish report coming Wednesday," said one floor trader, who said he is waiting for "the other shoe to drop" and the market to push lower.

Joe Victor, vice president of marketing for Allendale, noted apparent buying of corn and wheat, which was also higher, and selling of soybeans, which ended lower.

"It's starches versus protein," Victor said.

On Monday afternoon's crop progress report, traders are expecting a slight decline of one to two percentage points in the portion of the crop rated good-to-excellent. Harvest progress is expected below 10%.

The U.S. Grains Council on Monday projected a corn crop in China of 148.79 million metric tons, down 9.7% from last year, as drought takes its toll.

The production estimate follows the grain council's annual China tour. Last year's crop totaled 165.917 million metric tons, according to China's National Grains and Oils Information Center. The council said that earlier this month, China estimated this year's crop at 165.5 million metric tons.

CBOT oats futures ended higher. December oats ended up six cents, to $2.25 per bushel, and March oats ended up six cents, to $2.38 1/2.

Ethanol futures were higher. October ethanol ended up $0.043 to $1.722 per gallon and November ethanol ended up $0.033 to $1.659.


-By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5778; ian.berry@dowjones.com