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Wheat, Corn Fall on Slowing Demand for U.S. Crops; Soybeans Drop

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Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat futures fell to a five-month low and corn dropped the most in a week after a government report showed slowing overseas demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans declined.

Shipments of wheat inspected for exports slumped 9.1 percent to 15.128 million bushels in the week ended Dec. 20, the lowest for the period since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Corn-export inspections dropped 66 percent from a year earlier to 13.475 million bushels, the USDA said. Since Sept. 1, shipments of the grain have tumbled 53 percent from a year earlier.

“The lack of export demand is dragging down the corn and wheat markets,” Tim Hannagan, a grain specialist for Alpari US LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Demand is declining.”

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 2.4 percent to close at $7.745 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade after touching $7.7375, the lowest since July 2. Still, the grain has climbed 19 percent this year. The exchange was closed yesterday for the Christmas holiday.

Corn futures for March delivery dropped 1.6 percent to $6.9325 a bushel on the CBOT, the biggest decline since Dec. 19. Most-active futures touched $6.875 on Dec. 20, the lowest since July 11. The grain has risen 7.2 percent this year after the worst U.S. drought in 70 years cut production 13 percent.

Soybean futures for March delivery declined 1.2 percent to $14.185 a bushel in Chicago. The oilseed has gained 17 percent this year after drought reduced U.S. production for a third straight season.

In the U.S., corn is the biggest crop, valued at $76.5 billion in 2011, followed by soybeans at $35.8 billion, government figures show. Wheat is the fourth-largest at $14.4 billion, behind hay.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McKiernan at pmckiernan@bloomberg.net

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