Wheat Falls to One-Week Low as U.S. Export Sales Wane

Wheat fell to a one-week low on signs of slack demand for supplies from the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter.

The government said yesterday that export sales dropped to 387,877 metric tons in the week ended Jan. 24 from 647,545 tons a week earlier. Since June 1, shipments have declined 11 percent from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Turmoil in Egypt, the top importer, may be damping trade.

“We’re going to have to see demand pretty soon because it’s already February, and we only have a third of the marketing year left,” Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in in Yates City, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “We’ve been talking about demand for a long time, but it seems like everybody likes to sell it for $10 a ton cheaper than us, so the competition is still out there.”

Wheat futures for March delivery dropped 1.9 percent to settle at $7.65 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $7.645, the lowest for a most-active contract since Jan. 25.

The grain rose as much as 1.3 percent earlier as dry weather threatened the U.S. winter crop.

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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