Wheat Climbs to a Two-Month High on Improved Demand; Corn Gains

Wheat futures rose to a two-month high after a government report showed improved U.S. sales to China and Brazil. Corn also advanced, while soybeans declined.

Exporters sold 620,212 metric tons of wheat in the week ended Sept. 19, up 44 percent from a year earlier, with China and Brazil as the primary destinations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. China, the world’s biggest consumer of the grain, took 28 percent of new sales, the agency said. Total sales since June 1 are up 39 percent from a year earlier, government data show.

“China and Brazil were both buying U.S. wheat last week, and that has given the market increased optimism about continued new business,” Shawn McCambridge, the senior grain analyst for Jefferies Bache LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “We are off to a very strong start, and sales will need to continue to support a sustained rally.”

Wheat futures for delivery in December jumped 1.2 percent to close at $6.7825 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $6.79, the highest for a most-active contract since July 16.

Futures advanced for a fourth straight day, the longest rally since July 31, on speculation that freezing weather during the past week damaged the developing crop in Argentina, the Southern Hemisphere’s second-biggest exporter. Prices also gained on speculation that a USDA report this month will show Sept. 1 inventories fell 7.6 percent from a year earlier, McCambridge said.

“We had very good demand during the first quarter” of the marketing year that began June 1, McCambridge said. “The U.S. is going to have a tight balance.”

Corn futures for delivery in December rose 0.4 percent to $4.5675 a bushel in Chicago. Prices are down 11 percent since the end of June, heading for a fourth straight quarterly decline. U.S. farmers are expected to harvest 28 percent more corn than in 2012.

Soybean futures for delivery in November slumped 0.4 percent to $13.1675 a bushel in Chicago. The price is up 5.2 percent since the end of June as dry weather in July and August trimmed U.S. yields.

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