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Corn futures closed a penny to 4 cents higher on Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report showed 854,800 MT of corn was booked for the week ending August 20, landing on the high side of the estimate spectrum. Due to deferrals, old crop sales had net reductions of 131,800 MT. Sales for 15/16 delivery increased by 71% from the previous week, to 986,000 MT, their highest level this marketing year. Mexico was the biggest buyer at 434,600 MT, with Japan and Columbia booking 147,000 MT and 64,900 MT respectively. Outstanding sales for the next marketing year are 33% lower than this point in time a year ago. The International Grains Council forecasts a larger 2015/16 corn crop than previously estimated, up 2 MMT to 968 MMT (USDA: 985.61 MMT).