Wheat Futures Rise to 13-Week High on Ukraine Turmoil

Wheat futures rose to a 13-week high as signs of escalating turmoil in Ukraine spurred concern that exports will be delayed. Corn climbed, while soybeans fell.

The European Union today threatened further sanctions against Russia in protest to its moves in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Russia is on track to be the world’s fifth-biggest wheat exporter in the year ended June 1, and Ukraine is set to be the sixth-largest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Grains Council has said the standoff may boost demand for domestic supplies.

There continues to be “uneasiness about the Ukraine-Russian situation,” Darrell Holaday, the president of Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. “It seems to be jitter buying that goes on.”

Wheat futures for May delivery rose 2.8 percent to close at $6.59 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price reached $6.6725, the highest for a most-active contract since Dec. 4.

Yesterday, the grain fell as much as 2.3 percent after the USDA raised its forecast for global production.

Prices rebounded as dry weather hampered winter crops in the U.S., the biggest exporter.

Most fields in the Great Plains got less than 50 percent of normal rain in the past 60 days, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Precipitation will miss the region in the next two weeks, increasing stress on plants as they begin to emerge from dormancy, T-Storm Weather in Chicago said in a report.

“The lack of moisture in the Plains forecast, I think it’s kept people somewhat nervous,” Holaday said. “Rain in the next 30 days is important.”

Corn futures rose 1 percent to $4.8325 a bushel. On March 7, the price reached $5.025, the highest since Aug. 27.

Soybean futures for May delivery slid 0.4 percent to $14.13 a bushel.

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