Wheat Jumps Most in Three Months on U.S. Freeze Threat

Wheat jumped the most in three months on concern that a freeze will damage winter crops from South Dakota to Arkansas, eroding prospects for exports from the U.S., the world’s top shipper. Corn rose, and soybeans fell.

Temperatures as low as minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius) from Nebraska to Illinois and less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit through the lower Mississippi River Valley risk harming some winter wheat, World Weather Inc. said in a report. Colder weather next week may damage as much as 25 percent of the Midwest crop and 10 percent of plants in the Great Plains unprotected by snow cover, MDA Weather Services said.

“We probably had some damage overnight, and there’s the potential for more next week,” Mike O’Dea, a risk-management consultant at INTL FCStone Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “The potential is there for damage, but we won’t know the full extent until later in the spring” when crops emerge from dormancy, he said.

Wheat futures for March delivery rose 1.6 percent to close at $5.70 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Oct. 18.

On Jan. 10, the price fell to $5.605, the lowest since July 2010, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast world output will rise to a record.

Higher global demand also boosted futures, O’Dea said.

Algeria bought 500,000 metric tons for delivery in April and May, according to U.K. grain trader Gleadell Agriculture. Iraq purchases 350,000 tons from sources including Australia, Canada and the U.S.

Corn futures for March delivery gained 0.6 percent to $4.29 a bushel. The price rose for the third straight day, the longest rally in four weeks.

Soybean futures for March delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $12.77 a bushel. In three days, the oilseed fell 3 percent as favorable weather boosted prospects for bumper crops in South American.

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