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Wheat Falls on Speculation Low Prices Fail to Spur U.S. Exports

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures fell for the sixth time in seven sessions on speculation that the lowest prices since July have yet to spur demand for grain from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate of global wheat reserves in a report on Dec. 11 and cut its demand forecast. Government inspections of wheat for shipment overseas from June 1 through Dec. 13 are down 13 percent from the same period a year earlier, USDA data show.

“I don’t think the demand is there,” even after U.S. wheat futures tumbled 5.5 percent last week and touched a five-month low, Dewey Strickler, the president of Ag Watch Market Advisers in Franklin, Kentucky, said by telephone. “We don’t have the tight situation in wheat that we have in corn.”

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.7 percent to settle at $8.08 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price is down 6.4 percent this month, after touching $8.015 on Dec. 13, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 3. The grain is up 24 percent this year.

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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