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Corn prices rally to new record high

August 9, 2012: 2:03 PM ET

Corn prices have surged more than 60% since the middle of June as the worst drought in more than half a century blankets the Midwest.

Corn prices climbed to a record high Thursday, staging a fresh rally as investor gear up for the U.S. government's latest snapshot on corn production due Friday morning.

"Analysts are making some pretty dire predictions," said Sal Gilbertie, chief investment of Teucrium Trading, which runs the Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN).

Corn prices are up more than 60% over the last seven weeks as the worst drought in more than half a century blankets the corn belt in the Midwest. On Thursday, corn prices spike nearly 14% to a record high of $8.28 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, before pulling back to about $8.23 per bushel.

Related: U.S. drought drives up food prices worldwide

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a shortfall of corn supplies that would reduce the yield for the 2012-2013 season by 20 bushels per acre to 146 bushels per acre. This month, analysts are expecting the USDA to ratchet down the yield by another 20 bushels per acre.

"At this point, the damage to the corn crop is done, but it's a matter of assessing and quantifying the damage," said Gilbertie.  "The corn harvest is just now beginning, and with each successive government report, we'll get a closer read on the actual damage."

The worse the damage, the higher prices will go as demand is rationed, said Gilbertie. He also noted that this will be the third year in a row that the yield for corn will decline, which has never happened before.

Analysts also expect the USDA to decrease its estimate for soybean production this year from 40.5 bushels per acre to 38.1 bushels per acre. But soybean crops are still at a point in which they can be saved by more rain, said Gilbertie.

Soybean prices jumped nearly 3% Thursday to $16.28 per bushel, remaining just shy of the record above $17 per bushel reached last month.

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