File image: Reuters

Maize and wheat prices ended higher on Friday on the back of stronger contract prices on the Chicago Board of Trade.

“The US Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply-and-demand report will be released today and wheat and maize stock is expected to decrease considerably. US and local prices gained quite a lot on these expectations‚” a local trader said.

The near-dated August white maize contract was up R55.20 to R2‚748.20 a ton and the September white maize contract added R58 to R2‚769 a ton. The December white maize contract also gained R58.00 to R2‚833.00 a ton.

The near-dated August yellow maize contract was up R58 to R2‚763 a ton‚ the September yellow maize contract gained R67 to R2‚786 a ton and the December yellow maize contract added R68.00 at R2‚814.

The August wheat contract was up R20.00 at R3‚442 a ton‚ the September wheat contract gained R46 to R3‚490 a ton and the December wheat contract added R26 to R3‚490 a ton.

Meanwhile soybean futures in the US jumped 4% on Thursday‚ boosted by an export-sale announcement and expectations that the US government would on Friday cut its forecast for the nation's soy harvest‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Chicago Board of Trade August soybeans‚ thinly traded ahead of their August 14 expiration‚ rose 64 1/2 cents to US$16.94 1/2 a bushel. Most-active November soybeans rose 50 cents‚ or 3.2%‚ to $16.31 1/4 a bushel.

Soybean futures soared to all-time highs last month on worries about damage to crops by the worst US drought in decades.

The US Department of Agriculture said on Thursday that private exporters reported selling 165‚000 metric tons of soybeans to China for the 2012-13 marketing year. The sale announcement‚ the third this week for soybeans‚ boosted futures prices and highlighted continued strong demand for the oilseeds despite still-high prices.

Soybean prices also likely benefited — along with corn — from positioning ahead of the US Department of Agriculture’s monthly supply-and-demand report due on Friday.

The latest US Drought Monitor map on Thursday showed the drought growing worse in major production regions for corn and soybeans.

September corn settled up 7 1/2 cents‚ or 0.9%‚ at $8.18 1/4 a bushel. December corn‚ a deferred contract‚ traded as high as $8.29 3/4 a bushel on Thursday.

December corn‚ a deferred contract‚ traded as high as $8.29 3/4 a bushel Thursday‚ above the all-time intraday high for front-month corn of $8.28 3/4 a bushel‚ set by the September contract on July 20.

The rises in corn and soybeans pulled wheat futures higher as well. Corn and wheat prices are linked since the two commodities compete in the animal-feed market.

Wheat traders are worried that world supplies will tighten this year‚ and in particular that Russia could move to reduce grain exports since the country's crops have been damaged by drought.

CBOT September wheat rose 13 3/4 cents‚ or 1.5%‚ to $9.13 a bushel. Kansas City Board of Trade September wheat rose 11 1/4 cents‚ or 1.2%‚ to $9.15 a bushel. MGEX September wheat rose 13 3/4 cents‚ or 1.5%‚ to $9.59 a bushel. - I-Net Bridge