Cotton surged to a monthly high on Monday as traders bet the government's latest plan to help the stumbling banking economy will help demand.

March-dated cotton climbed to 44.90 cents per pound, up 0.82 cents for the session.

The Obama administration released details Monday of its latest plan to solve the massive, debilitating banking crisis which continues to hold the financial system in its crushing grip.

The Treasury's response involves using up to $100 billion in funds from the $700 billion financial rescue plan passed in 2008 in addition to capital from private investors to generate an estimated $500 billion to purchase the toxic assets, a number that could double to $1 trillion over time, the Treasury said.

In other commodity news, soybeans gained 3.4 cents to $9.554 a bushel, while corn dropped 1 cent to $3.954 per bushel and wheat lost 1 cent to $5.492 a bushel.

The dollar remained in a range near a 2 1/2-month low versus the euro and a one-month low against the sterling. A lower dollar often helps commodities as interest is increased for those using other currencies.

In other commodity trading, crude oil rallied to $53.80, up $1.73 for the session. Prices hit as high as $54.05 earlier in the day, the best level since January.

In other economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units in February from a pace of 4.49 million units in January. Economists had expected sales to slip to a 4.45 million unit rate.

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