Wheat Rises as Low Temperatures in Europe May Harm Winter Crops

Wheat rose in Chicago, heading for a second monthly gain, on speculation cold weather in Europe will hurt winter crops that lack protective snow cover. Corn and soybeans climbed.

Temperatures tomorrow may fall as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit in Ukraine, Joel Burgio, a senior meteorologist at Telvent DTN, said in a report yesterday. That may damage plants that aren’t covered by snow. Prices also advanced as a Russian official said the country’s government will consider taxing grain exports.

“There’s a massive cold front coming through,” said William Adams, a portfolio manager at Resilience AG in Zurich. “Ukraine wheat production is expected to drop a bit, and that’s going to pressure wheat.”

Wheat for March delivery increased 1.9 percent to $6.57 a bushel by 1:15 p.m. London time on the Chicago Board of Trade. The most-active contract has gained 0.7 this month. Milling wheat for March delivery traded on NYSE Liffe in Paris rose 2.3 percent to 213.75 euros ($281.65) a metric ton.

“Any winter wheat not adequately protected by snow cover could be at risk of winterkill in areas where the lows reach minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit or colder,” Burgio said.

Discussions will take place in two weeks on the possible imposition of a Russian grain-export duty, Ilya Shestakov, deputy agriculture minister, said at a conference in Moscow.

Corn and soybeans gained as investors bet rainfall in Argentina and Brazil won’t revive crops damaged by drought, Adams said. Rabobank International yesterday cut estimates for global soybean output by 3.4 percent and corn production by 0.1 percent because of the dry weather.

Corn for March delivery advanced 1.2 percent to $6.3925 a bushel in Chicago. The grain has dropped 1.1 percent this month.

Soybeans for March delivery climbed 0.4 percent to $11.90 a bushel. The oilseed is down 1.5 percent in January.

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