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Wheat Drops to 19-Month Low on Record World Crop; Soy, Corn Gain

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat fell to a 19-month low in Chicago as forecasts for record global production discourage importers from stockpiling grain. Soybeans and corn rose on increased demand for U.S. crops.

Wheat prices slumped 22 percent in Chicago this year, set for the biggest annual drop since 2008, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a world harvest at an all-time high of 711.4 million metric tons. Reserve inventories before the 2014 harvest will rise 4 percent to 182.8 million tons, the USDA said.

“There is too much global supply,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst for Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “The story for 2014 will be one of lower prices to improve the incentive for importing nations to stockpile wheat.”

Wheat futures for delivery in March dropped 0.5 percent to close at $6.0625 a bushel at noon on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $6.0575, the lowest for a most-active contract since May 16, 2012.

The exchange will be closed tomorrow for the Christmas holiday. The market will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 26.

Soybeans rose on increased overseas demand for U.S. supplies, while corn gained on speculation that rains may not improve depleted soil moisture in parts of Brazil and Argentina, the biggest exporters after the U.S., Schultz said.

Soybean futures for March delivery rose 0.2 percent to $13.2275 a bushel in Chicago. The price fell 6.2 percent this year on USDA forecasts for record crops in South America, where harvesting begins next month.

Corn futures for delivery in March added 0.1 percent to $4.345 a bushel. The grain fell 38 percent this year as the USDA estimated domestic farmers boosted output this year by 30 percent to a record.

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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