Wheat Jumps Most Since November on Tighter Supplies, Fewer Acres

Wheat surged the most since November on mounting concern that inventories and winter-grain planting fell short of analyst forecasts in the U.S., the world’s largest exporter.

Stockpiles on May 31 will total 716 million bushels, down 5 percent from a December forecast and the 741 million estimate by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Jan. 11. Growers planted 41.819 million acres with winter varieties from September through November, less than the 42.585 million expected by analysts, USDA data show. Prices are up 3.2 percent in two sessions.

“We have historically tight supply,” Frank J. Cholly, a senior commodities broker at RJO Futures in Chicago, said by telephone. “The grain markets do a good job of alerting end-users and producers when there’s short supply. The price goes up, which rations demand.”

Wheat futures for March delivery gained 1.6 percent to settle at $7.67 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest jump since Nov. 27. The price rose 19 percent last year, the largest increase among 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.

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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