CHICAGO/SINGAPORE, Dec 31 (Reuters) - U.S. corn, wheat and soybean futures posted yearly gains, with strong demand and supply constraints in some key production areas of the globe underpinning the markets throughout 2021.
Corn futures , which jumped 22.4% this year, paced the grain markets, supported by increased feed usage by livestock as well as a rebound in the ethanol sector as drivers returned to the roads due to easing COVID-19 restrictions. The corn market has risen for four years in a row.
Wheat futures were up 20.3% for the year, their fifth straight yearly gain and their biggest since 2010. Crop problems in Australia and worries about export curbs in Russia have supported the wheat market through 2021.
Soybean futures, which hit their highest level since 2012 in May, were up just 2.2% for the year, as a bumper harvest in the United States and good growing weather in Brazil pressured prices during the fourth quarter.
Soybean futures were firm on Friday in thin, technical-based trading following sharp declines a day earlier.
"The grains seemingly haven fallen far enough this week to more comfortable levels on the charts," Matt Zeller, director of market information at StoneX, said in a note to clients.
Corn futures weakened as traders squared positions ahead of the end of the year.
Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for March delivery settled up 3/4 cent at $13.39-1/4 a bushel and CBOT March corn was down 2-3/4 cents at $5.93-1/4 a bushel.
Wheat futures were under pressure from forecasts for rain and snow that will boost soil moisture in the U.S. Plains, which will be beneficial to the dormant crop there.
CBOT March soft red winter wheat was down 9 cents at $7.70-3/4 a bushel. On a continuous basis, the most-active contract hit its lowest level since Dec. 20.
Reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago and Naveen Thukral in Singapore Editing by Matthew Lewis and Chris Reese