Soybean futures soar on reports of flood damage


CHICAGO -- Soybean futures rallied to a four-year high after Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy indicated crop damage caused by flooding in the Midwest might be more extensive than previously thought.

Mr. Espy said at least 20 million acres of crop land has been "adversely affected" by the flooding. He made his remarks before the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Trading on the Chicago Board of Trade was volatile as traders tried to discern which commodities were going to be most affected while private reports suggested damage was not as extensive as the latest account.

Soybeans for November delivery closed at $7.275 a bushel, up 15 1/2 cents yesterday and up $1.50, or 26 percent, in the past month.

Grains also rose. Corn for December delivery finished 5 3/4 cents higher, at $2.51 a bushel. Wheat for September delivery closed 4 1/2 cents higher, at $2.98 a bushel.

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