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Wheat Declines for Third Day as U.S. Export Inspections Tumble

Wheat fell for the third straight session after a government report showed inspections of U.S. grain for overseas delivery plunged 32 percent last week.

In the week through Jan. 31, officials inspected 15.2 million bushels of wheat for export, down from 22.3 million a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. About 599.8 million bushels have been inspected for delivery since the start of the marketing year on June 1, down 11 percent from a year earlier, according to the USDA.

“The export inspection numbers in wheat were a little less than expected,” Dewey Strickler, the president of Ag Watch Market Advisers in Franklin, Kentucky, said by telephone. A stronger dollar, which rose for the first time in five sessions against a basket of six currencies, may be making U.S. grain less attractive to overseas buyers, he said.

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped 0.3 percent to close at $7.63 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the third straight decline. Prices have fallen 1.9 percent this year after surging 19 percent in 2012.

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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