PARIS/SINGAPORE- Chicago corn futures rose on Tuesday to approach a near eight-year high, with chilly U.S. weather raising concern about crop development at a time of tightening supplies.
Soybeans moved higher to touch a near seven-year peak, underpinned by firm crude oil and vegetable oil prices.
Wheat also gained ground, continuing to draw support from corn along with dry conditions for spring wheat in North America.
Chilly weather in the U.S. Midwest, including frosts expected this week, have stoked initial worries about prospects for a 2021 U.S. corn crop that analysts say would need to be large to rebuild stocks depleted by Chinese imports and ethanol demand.
A cold spell could hamper germination of corn now being planted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday the U.S. corn crop was 8% planted, just behind the average estimate in a Reuters analyst poll.
China imported nearly 2 million tonnes of corn in March, over 500% more than a year earlier, as it continued to react to high prices and reduced inventories for domestic corn.
"Big numbers always draw attention to themselves, and the more than 500% surge in Chinese corn imports in March is no exception," Commerzbank said in a note.
The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade Cv1 was up 0.9% at $5.97-1/4 by 1151 GMT.
Corn had climbed to its highest since June 2013 at $6.01-1/2 on Thursday.
CBOT soybeans were up 1.6% at $14.59-1/2 a bushel. They earlier reached $14.62, the highest since June 2014 and just above a previous near seven-year peak touched in March.
China also ramped up imports of U.S. soybeans in March, partly due to a rain-delayed Brazilian harvest, customs data showed.
Tensions in related vegetable oil and biodiesel markets were maintaining strength in soybeans. POI/
Traders have sold two shipments of Ukrainian rapeseed this month to Canadian buyers, a highly unusual trade, market sources said.
Brazil has suspended import duties on soy, corn, soybean meal and soybean oil until the end of the year, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday, as the country seeks to slow inflation.
CBOT wheat added 0.8% to $6.58-3/4 a bushel.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and David Evans) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +33 1 49 49 52 18; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))