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Wheat Rises as Adverse Weather in Argentina Limits World Supply

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat rose for a second session as rain on Argentina’s coastal region and dry weather inland damage crops, forcing some grain buyers to seek supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter.

Argentina’s agriculture ministry lowered its production forecast on Dec. 20 to 10.5 million metric tons from 11.1 million last month, citing heavy coastal rains and the first inland dust bowl in 85 years. The government said last week it would halt exports through January because of the weather. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had forecast Argentina would be the world’s eighth-largest wheat exporter this year.

“With Argentina out of the picture, it’s going to be the U.S. and Canada” that will be the main suppliers of high-quality wheat, Louise Gartner, the owner of Spectrum Commodities in Beavercreek, Ohio, said by telephone.

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 0.2 percent to settle at $7.9375 a bushel at 12 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has gained 22 percent this year, after drought reduced output in the U.S., Russia and Australia.

U.S. markets will be closed tomorrow for Christmas. The CBOT will open at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 26 for grains.

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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