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Wheat Caps Biggest Weekly Advance Since July on U.S. Drought

Wheat rose, capping the biggest weekly gain since July, on signs of improved export demand and as a lingering drought threatens this year’s harvest in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter.

Export sales more than doubled to 536,200 metric tons in the week ended Jan. 10, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Drought will persist in the southern Great Plains for the next three months, the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, said yesterday. Informa Economics Inc. said the U.S. wheat crop will fall to 2.211 billion bushels from 2.269 billion last year.

“We did see good export sales this week, and we still have dry weather,” Tom Leffler, the owner of Leffler Commodities LLC in Augusta, Kansas, said today by telephone. “It’s nice to see a bounce, and I feel we may have possibly put in a bottom in this market.”

Wheat futures for delivery in March advanced 1.3 percent to settle at $7.9125 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price rose 4.8 percent this week.

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.

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