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Wheat Drops on U.S. Economic Concerns; Soybeans Decline

Wheat futures fell on speculation that farmers increased sales amid concern the U.S. budget dispute will damp the economy and erode commodity demand in 2013. Soybeans dropped, while corn rose.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans haven’t reached an accord to avert $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to start tomorrow. This year, wheat in Chicago gained 19 percent, the most among 24 raw materials in the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, after adverse weather eroded global inventory.

“There’s been more grain movement than usual this time of year” because of the so-called fiscal cliff, Jason Britt, the president of Central States Commodities Inc., a brokerage in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “As far as the tax consequences, if they took the money this year, that might be better than if they wait.”

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.1 percent to settle at $7.78 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. This month, the price tumbled 9.9 percent, the most since September 2011.

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $14.095 a bushel. This year, the price climbed 17 percent, the second-biggest gain among GSCI components. The oilseed reached a record $17.89 on Sept. 4.

Corn futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to $6.9825 a bushel. The grain advanced 8 percent this year, reaching a record $8.49 on Aug. 10, as drought scorched the U.S. Midwest.

The GSCI index rose 0.3 percent in 2012.

Corn is the biggest U.S. 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.

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