A duo of global factors is upping the bar for the corn market this week, with the announcement of strong export sales to China and a looming transportation strike in Brazil, a major grain export competitor for the U.S. The net effect could be an extension of the higher trend for grain prices. One broker said this week that there are signs that “new money” is returning to the corn pit as China continues a strong pace of purchases. A potential strike among truck drivers in Brazil — right now slated to start on February 1 — could limit that nation’s ability to deliver grain to port terminals, thereby potentially creating a void in the grain export market. Corn prices are up 10% so far this year, with benchmark futures hitting the highest levels in eight years on Wednesday. In the longer term, Chinese grain demand and any logjams in Brazil could further tighten U.S. grain supplies, which is fundamentally bullish to both soybeans and corn. See more.