Wheat Gains for First Time in Three Days as Drought Slows Russian Planting

Wheat rose for the first time in three days in Chicago as grain planting in Russia, the world’s third-largest producer last season, lagged behind last year’s pace and recent declines lured buyers.

December-delivery wheat gained 0.3 percent to $7.29 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 1:23 p.m. Paris time after touching $7.3775. The contract slumped 2.5 percent in the previous two days.

Farmers in Russia have sowed 5.8 million hectares (14.3 million acres) of grains so far this season, compared with 10.8 million hectares in the same period last year, the country’s Agriculture Ministry said yesterday.

“The Russian planting pace is slower than the market hoped,” Michael Pitts, a commodity sales director at National Australia Bank Ltd., said by phone from Sydney. “That’s providing some underlying support.”

Russia harvested 34.3 million metric tons of wheat from July 1 through Sept. 16, the ministry said, compared with 48 million tons a year earlier. The total grain harvest was 51 million tons as of yesterday, it said, compared with 77.4 million tons in the same period last season.

Wheat fell in the past two days after rain improved soil moisture in the southern Great Plains in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter, where farmers are preparing to plant winter crops. The grain also slid after Australia’s government forecast the country’s wheat harvest will rise to 25.1 million tons, the third-biggest on record.

‘Bargain-Hunters’

“There’s certainly been a range of buyers who are looking for a fall-off in the market,” Pitts said. “We’re certain to see bargain-hunters out there.”

Wheat has dropped 16 percent from a 23-month high of $8.68 a bushel on Aug. 6, the day after Russia announced a grain- export ban that was later extended through next year.

November-delivery milling wheat traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris fell 0.4 percent to 231.25 euros ($302.54 euros) a ton.

Corn for December delivery fell 0.3 percent to $4.94 a bushel in Chicago after five gains in a row. The grain has advanced 13 percent this month, outpacing wheat’s 6.6 percent climb, as investors boosted bets on higher prices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cut its estimates for U.S. and worldwide corn inventories every month since May as drought or excessive rains in some of the world’s largest exporters slashed harvests of wheat and barley. To meet livestock-feed requirements, buyers may turn to the U.S., which accounts for more than half of global corn exports, according to USDA data.

That will take corn inventories in the U.S. before next year’s harvest to about 9.8 percent of domestic consumption, the lowest level in 15 years.

“There’s a very good fundamental story that hasn’t quite made a bit of a run, and that’s attracting investor interest” in corn, National Australia Bank’s Pitts said.

November-delivery soybeans climbed 0.2 percent to $10.445 a bushel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Luzi Ann Javier in Singapore at ljavier@bloomberg.net

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