U.S. soybean futures rose to their highest in almost two years on Thursday to trade above the $11 mark as investors continued to price in strong export demand for U.S. soy in the face of a rain-reduced harvest in Argentina.
Corn inched down as the market consolidated following a 10-month high earlier in the day that also reflected strong U.S. shipments at a time of low supplies in rival exporter Brazil.
Wheat was little changed after tracking gains in corn, with traders monitoring rain in U.S. and European wheat belts that could hurt harvest prospects.
Chicago Board of Trade most-active soybean contract climbed 0.6 percent to $11.06-1/2 a bushel by 1200 GMT. Earlier in the session, the market touched its highest since July 2014 at $11.09-3/4 a bushel.
Corn eased 0.1 percent to $4.13-1/4 a bushel after hitting its highest since July at $4.15 a bushel.
Wheat edged up a quarter of a cent to $4.74 a bushel. Concerns over South American production have supported both soybean and corn prices while improving the U.S. export outlook despite a strengthening in the dollar.
"There is a bullish trend as we are expecting strong demand for U.S. products, both soybeans and corn," said Kaname Gokon at brokerage Okato Shoji in Tokyo. "Chinese pork prices are at record high, so they will need more corn and soybeans to boost pork production."
Pork prices in China are climbing at a blistering pace despite government moves to cool markets in the world's top consumer of the meat.
Government data released on Wednesday showed Chinese pork prices hit record levels this week, as farmers hold back pigs from slaughter to rebuild herds following widespread culling in 2014 when prices were low.
Brisk Chinese demand could profit U.S. exporters given that Argentina, the world's biggest soymeal and soyoil exporter, has seen its harvest production prospects cut by torrential rain in April.
In corn, Brazil is grappling with tight supply after strong exports in the past year and as drought it set to curb yields in its next crop.
Brazil's cereals exporters association Anec cut its estimate for 2016 corn exports to 23 million tonnes, down 7 million tonnes from its April outlook.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday that its global food price index rose in May for a fourth consecutive month to pull further away from a near seven-year low seen in January. But it anticipated broadly stable food commodity markets in the coming year, and projected world cereal output at a near-record high in 2016/17.