Wheat Drops as Export Inspections Fall in Week Through Jan. 31

Wheat fell for the third straight session, after a Department of Agriculture report showed inspections of U.S. grain for overseas delivery in the week through Jan. 31 plunged 32 percent.

Government officials inspected 15.2 million bushels of wheat for export, down from 22.3 million a week earlier, USDA data show. About 599.8 million bushels have been inspected for delivery since the start of the marketing year on June 1, down 11 percent from a year earlier, according to the USDA.

“This morning the export inspection numbers in wheat were a little less than expected,” Dewey Strickler, the president of Ag Watch Market Advisers in Franklin, Kentucky, said by telephone. A stronger dollar, which rose for the first time in five sessions against a basket of six currencies, may be making U.S. grain less attractive to overseas buyers, he said.

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped 0.5 percent to $7.615 a bushel at 12:19 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Prices declined 2.8 percent in the previous two sessions.

In the U.S., wheat is the fourth-largest crop, valued at $14.4 billion in 2011, behind corn, soybeans and hay, government data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony C. Dreibus in Chicago at tdreibus@bloomberg.net

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

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