Corn futures hit trading limits after the latest batch of U.S. export sales indicated strong global demand and settled 4.9% higher at $6.4650 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Fears that consumption in Japan, the world’s top corn importer, would cool following last week’s earthquake and tsunami had driven a dramatic selloff.
The gains in corn lifted wheat, which surged 7.3%, and soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that deals to export more than a million tons of corn from the U.S. were struck in the week ended March 10, beating analysts’ expectations. Japan was the top buyer.