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The price of soybeans climbed Tuesday after China bought more of the protein-rich beans to feed its growing population.
Soybeans for November delivery rose 3.5 cents Tuesday to finish at $17.225 per bushel.
China is buying U.S. soybeans at a rate of about 5 million metric tons per month. The U.S. Agriculture Department said Tuesday that China bought an additional 110,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery after Sept. 1.
Global soybean supplies were critically low before the devastating drought hit crops in the Midwest. As of Sunday, about 38 percent of the U.S. soybean crop was in poor to very poor condition.
Northstar Commodity analyst Jason Ward said at the pace China is buying soybeans, the U.S. supply could be depleted by February. That makes it more important for South American farmers to plant a big crop to help replenish global supply, he said.
In other December crop contracts, wheat fell 5.75 cents to end at $8.755 per bushel, and corn dropped 5.25 cents to $7.955 per bushel.
Other commodities were mixed.
Oil prices rose as Hurricane Isaac moved into the heart of the Gulf of Mexico's oil and refinery operations. Traders waited to see how much the storm may disrupt supply.
Benchmark oil rose 86 cents to finish at $96.33 per barrel, heating oil gained 0.85 cent to $3.1203 per gallon, gasoline futures fell 2.87 cents to $3.1261 per gallon, and natural gas ended down 3.9 cents at $2.614 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The price of gold fell ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech Friday to the Fed's annual conference. Traders are hoping he will offer clues about whether the central bank may take more steps to aid economic growth.
Gold for December delivery fell $5.90 to end at $1,669.70 per ounce and September silver fell 17.4 cents to $30.963 per ounce.
September copper dropped 1.4 cents to finish at $3.4625 per pound, October platinum decreased $32.80 to $1,520.40 per ounce, and September palladium ended down $15.05 at $639.70 per ounce.