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Wheat Halts Weeklong Rally as Demand for U.S. Exports Slackening

Wheat futures fell for the first time in five sessions on signs of declining demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter.

Export sales in the week through Nov. 22 totaled 279,337 metric tons, down 56 percent from a week earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. Since June 1, overseas buyers have agreed to purchase 16.2 million tons, down 10 percent from the same period a year earlier, USDA data show. The government said Nov. 9 that exports would rise 4.8 percent.

“Demand bearishness has reared its head after the export-sales report came out,” Mike Zuzolo, the president of Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting in Lafayette, Indiana, said by telephone.

Wheat futures for March delivery slid 0.6 percent to close at $8.855 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has gained 36 percent this year as dry weather reduced global production 6.4 percent to a five-year low.

The grain climbed 3.7 percent in the previous four sessions as dry weather eroded conditions for winter varieties grown in the U.S. Great Plains. About 78 percent of Kansas, the biggest grower of the variety, was in extreme or exceptional drought as of Nov. 27, compared with 36 percent a year earlier, data from the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor show.

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

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