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Wheat Slips After Russian Exports Jump, Europe Weather Improves

Wheat declined after Russian exports of the grain increased and as warmer weather in Europe, planting progress in Russia and sufficient soil moisture in Kazakhstan lift production prospects.

Grain exports from Russia, the fifth-biggest wheat shipper this season, jumped 57 percent in the first 17 days of April compared with the first 20 days of March, according to data published by the Agriculture Ministry.

“The European operators are attentively watching the Russian announcements that augur a restart of wheat exports,” Paris-based farm adviser Agritel wrote in a market report on its website. “Russian authorities are reporting planting progress that is faster than the previous year.”

Wheat for July delivery traded on the Chicago Board of Trade fell as much as 1.4 percent to $6.93 a bushel and was at $6.9425 by 7:38 a.m. local time, adding to yesterday’s 1.3-percent drop. Milling wheat for November delivery on NYSE Liffe in the French capital fell 1.1 percent to 210.50 euros ($273.44) a metric ton.

Russian farmers planted 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres) of spring grains as of yesterday, compared with 1.43 million hectares at the same time a year ago, Interfax reported, citing data from the Agriculture Ministry. Russia was the world’s fifth-biggest wheat producer in 2012-13.

The country’s grain exports in the first part of this month were 322,000 metric tons from 205,000 in the first 20 days of March, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

In Kazakhstan’s three main grain-growing regions, soil-water reserves are better than last year, according to Agritel. Farmers have planted 300,000 hectares of wheat for now and may sow a total 13 million hectares, the farm adviser said.

Rising Temperatures

Soil moisture in Kostanai, Kazakhstan’s biggest wheat-growing region, was at 55 percent as of April 20 compared with 40 percent a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Crop Explorer service.

In France, the European Union’s biggest wheat grower, and southern Germany afternoon temperatures are forecast to rise above 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) in coming days, boosting crop development.

“For the new harvest, weather conditions are improving in Europe, reassuring little by little,” Agritel said.

Soybeans for delivery in July fell 0.1 percent to $13.625 a bushel. Futures fell to an almost 10-month low of $13.505 a bushel on April 16 on concern China’s bird flu outbreak may hurt demand for animal feeds, including meal crushed from soybeans. Corn for July delivery dropped 0.6 percent to $6.20 a bushel.

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