CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended higher Monday on a chilly, wet weather forecast, technical momentum and fund buying, traders said.

December corn ended up 8 cents at $3.41 1/2 per bushel, and March corn ended 7 3/4 cents higher at $3.54 1/4.

Forecasts calling for wet weather and cold temperatures this weekend were the main factor behind the rally, said Vic Lespinasse, analyst for grainanalyst.com. That is a concern because the crop's slow development leaves it vulnerable to freeze damage, he said. Monday's crop progress report from the government could show that barely more than half the crop has reached full maturity, he said.

The wet weather will continue to stymie development and delay harvest, analysts added.

Traders and analysts also said the market was getting support from talk that Brazil will need to import U.S. ethanol to alleviate a tight supply situation. The talk is that a U.S. company is going to ship two cargos to Brazil.

"That forced some of the funds to get in here and buy it," a trader said.

Funds bought an estimated 9,000 contracts.

Lespinasse said that while the possible ethanol shipments were "definitely not bearish," the support was mostly psychological, as Brazil would be unlikely to become a consistent buyer. Any such shipments would be like "carrying coals to New Castle," he said.

The market opened lower but quickly surged Monday. The rally accelerated when it hit some technical buy stops, although the market cut its gains almost in half by the close.

"Fund money flow is likely the biggest factor here," an analyst said.

The trade expects Monday's crop progress report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to show little harvest progress. AgResource sees harvest to be only 9% to 12% complete in Monday's crop progress report.

Analysts added that given the price of corn, farmers will be in no rush to harvest their wet crop and will remove soybeans instead. Bill Gentry, analyst/broker with Risk Management Commodities, said that commercials are "short bought" and added as a side note that "the commitment of traders Friday has small specs still pretty short."

Fundamentals are still largely seen as weak, with most expecting a very large crop once it gets harvested.

CBOT oats futures ended higher. December oats ended 1 1/2 cents higher at $2.22 per bushel and March oats ended up 1 1/2 cents to $2.35 1/2.

Ethanol futures ended higher. October ethanol ended up $0.018 to $1.894 per gallon and November ethanol ended $0.028 higher at $1.776. The November contract has gained $0.150 since Sept. 25.


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