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Corn Hits 52-Week High: Market Bits

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Corn prices retreated Thursday after reaching a 52-week high earlier in the session in anticipation of shrinking inventories.

Corn for May delivery closed at $7.60 ¼ a bushel, down 0.4%, pulling back after scaling to a peak of $7.73 ¼ earlier in the session.

One main reason for the retreat was concern over Japan's ability to import corn after the country was hit by another earthquake on Thursday.

"That caused shock in entire commodity pit today," MaxYield Cooperative analyst Karl Setzer said. "We also saw some profit-taking ahead of tomorrow's planned stockpile report ... corn futures are finding pressure after setting new highs in recent trade as values have quickly become overpriced in the world market."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to release estimates for corn inventories Friday, and a Bloomberg survey of analysts indicates that the government could slash its estimate for corn stock on Sept. 1 by up to 13%. This, as demand for ethanol and livestock feed accelerates.

There are some questions, however, about whether the grain report will actually be released tomorrow, given the possibility of a government shutdown at midnight on Friday.

Corn inventory on March 1 fell 15% from a year ago, the government reported last week.

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