Wheat Drops for Third Day as Russia, Romania Undercut U.S. Export Prices

Wheat futures fell for the third straight day on lingering concern that cheaper grain from Eastern Europe will erode demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s top exporter.

Russia and Romania sold a combined 240,000 metric tons yesterday to Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, at $261.94 and $262.50 a ton. As of July 22, U.S. soft wheat for export traded at $275.30 a ton.

“The export market has been a struggle with the low-priced wheat coming from Russia and Romania,” Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst at Jefferies Bache LLC in Chicago, said by telephone.

Wheat futures for December delivery dropped 2.5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close at $7.23 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, bringing the three-day slide to 4.7 percent. The most-active contract has declined 11 percent in the past year.

On July 1, Russia lifted a ban on grain shipments after the worst drought in 50 years damaged last year’s crop. The nation was the world’s second-largest wheat exporter during the 2009-2010 season, International Grains Council data show.

Wheat prices may get a boost from a rally in corn, McCambridge said. Corn, the primary ingredient used in livestock feed, jumped 5.1 percent this week.

“Wheat is going to continue to follow corn as there’s a possible upside in replacing corn in feed,” McCambridge said.

Wheat is the fourth-largest U.S. crop, valued at $13 billion in 2010, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Chappatta in Chicago at bchappatta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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