In corn and soybean futures markets, traders continue to focus on recent heat and dryness that’s crimped Argentina’s harvest outlook. Any shortfalls in Argentina, the world’s third-largest soybean exporter, would intensify competition for U.S. supplies during a time of expanding global demand.

“Weather in South America is still supportive” for corn and soybean futures, said Jack Scoville, a vice president and analyst with Price Futures Group, in Chicago. “We’ve still got problems in Argentina. It’s been very hot and dry. They need rain and they’re not getting it.”

At today’s close, CME March corn futures rose 3 ¾ cents to $6.12 ¾, after earlier rising to $6.13, the contract’s highest price since $6.17 ½ on Nov. 9. January soybeans rose 21 ½ cents to $13.50 a bushel, after hitting $13.55, the highest for a closest-to-expiration contract since September 2008.

Continued dryness in Argentina may push corn and soybean prices even higher early next year, Scoville said.

“You can make a case of going back toward $7 if it stays bad in Argentina,” Scoville said, referring to corn futures.