CBOT corn futures rise on grain rally, crude oil strength

Chicago Board of Trade corn futures gained on Friday, seeing rollover strength from a rally in the soybean and wheat futures, traders said.

* Corn futures, which reached more than a seven-month high in midday trading, also gained support from strength in the crude oil markets, traders said.

* The benchmark CBOT March corn futures contract (CH2) closed up 10-3/4 cents at $6.36 a bushel.

* Solid U.S. export demand and concerns about drought-stressed South American crops also helped corn futures rise on Friday.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced it had finalized a rule that would give oil refiners more time to comply with biofuel blending mandates, including those from previous years.

* U.S. ethanol demand has recently slipped and oil prices have accelerated, sparking a record build-up in ethanol stocks.

* Chevron Corp (CVX) on Friday reported a fourth-quarter profit that missed Wall Street estimates and offered a weak outlook for this year's oil and gas production, sending its shares lower. It was the first major oil company to report fourth quarter results.

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