Wheat futures rose, heading for the biggest quarterly gain since 2012, on concern that rising tensions in Ukraine will delay shipments from the Black Sea.
Estonia said Russian President Vladamir Putin is readying to invade eastern Ukraine. Russian troops already occupy Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Ukraine will vote in two days on whether to allow for the region’s annexation. Russia is set to be the fifth-largest wheat shipper this year, ahead of Ukraine, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
“Continued escalation of events there may hinder the normal export flow of Black-Sea wheat,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The risk is that supplies would be tightening and demand would be driven to other places.”
Wheat futures for May delivery climbed 2 percent to close at $6.8725 at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price advanced 5.1 percent this week and 14 percent since December, on pace for the biggest quarterly gain since September 2012.
Russia is outraged by a deadly clash in eastern Ukraine yesterday, though it has no plans to invade the region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today.
Wheat entered a bull market on March 12, and has risen 25 percent from a January low.
Dry weather in the U.S., the largest exporter, is also spurring the rally, Grow said. Almost 35 percent of the Midwest was rated abnormally dry as of March 11, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More than half of the Great Plains will remain “under stress” as spring-wheat growth expands, a Commodity Weather Group report said today.
Soybean futures for May delivery fell 0.6 percent to close at $13.885 a bushel. The price slipped 4.8 percent this week, the most since September. China, the largest importer, has delayed shipments of about 500,000 metric tons, mostly from Brazil, according to a Bloomberg News survey of five crushers, traders and researchers.
Corn futures for May delivery rose 0.2 percent to $4.86 a bushel.