Wheat posted the biggest weekly gain in 19 months amid concern that freezing weather damaged winter crops in the U.S., the world’s top exporter, while turmoil in Ukraine may delay shipments. Soybeans climbed, and corn dropped.
Low temperatures will resume after warmer weather in the next five days melts snow covering parts of the Great Plains, according to World Weather Inc. In Kansas, the nation’s top grower of winter wheat, the crop deteriorated in February following the freeze, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week.
“The frigid temperatures around the world will be playing a role” in rising prices, Joe Vaclavik, the president of Standard Grain Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. The weather is “going to be detrimental” to the crop, he said.
Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1.2 percent to close at $6.54 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. This week, the price jumped 8.6 percent, the largest increase since mid-July 2012.
Dry conditions in the next two weeks will increase stress on dormant crops, World Weather in Overland Park, Kansas, said today in a report. Winter wheat is sown in September and October and usually harvested starting in June.
Ukraine is set to be the third-biggest corn exporter and sixth-largest wheat shipper this year. The country’s Crimea region faces a Russian incursion.
In Ukraine, “there’s no new sales being made, and there’s still a couple million tons of corn and wheat to be shipped out of there,” Alan Brugler, the president of Brugler Marketing & Management in Omaha, Nebraska, said in a telephone interview.
Temperatures will fall close to damaging cold in parts of western and southern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, where protective snow has been limited this year, World Weather said.
Soybean futures for May delivery gained 1.4 percent to $14.5775 a bushel in Chicago. The oilseed rose 3.1 percent this week and is up 13 percent in 2014.
Corn futures for May delivery fell 0.4 percent to $4.89 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $5.025, the highest since Aug. 27. The price rose for the seventh straight week, the longest rally in six years.
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