Corn Falls as Ukraine Shipments Seen Rising to ’14 Weekly Record

Corn futures fell the most in a week in Chicago on signs that escalating political tensions haven’t slowed exports from Ukraine, the world’s third-biggest shipper. Wheat also declined, and soybeans rose.

Ukraine loaded close to 700,000 metric tons of corn last week, according to Paris-based farm adviser Agritel. On March 11, Agritel said the Eastern European nation exported 480,000 tons in the prior week. A Chinese feed processor bought more than 50,000 tons from Ukraine, and shipping isn’t expected to be disrupted, said a purchasing manager at the mill, who asked not to be identified because the transaction is private.

“Export activity is not suffering from the delicate situation in which Ukraine and Russia find themselves,” Agritel, which has an office in Kiev, said in a report. “Ukraine in the past week chalked up its record for weekly corn loading since the start of the year.”

Corn futures for May delivery fell 1.4 percent to close at $4.79 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest drop since March 10.

The U.S. and the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia after a vote paved the way for President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea from Ukraine.

Wheat futures for delivery in May dropped 1.9 percent to $6.745 a bushel.

The grain entered a bull market on March 12 on speculation that shipments from Russia and Ukraine may be curtailed. Russia was on track to be the fifth-biggest wheat exporter, and Ukraine was set to be the sixth-largest, according to the USDA.

Hedge funds that bet on lower prices since early November turned bullish last week, U.S. government data show.

Russia will export 17.4 million to 17.8 million tons of wheat in the 2013-14 season, Moscow-based researcher SovEcon said today, raising its estimate from 16.5 million tons.

Soybeans gained 0.2 percent to $13.9175 a bushel after slumping 4.8 percent last week.

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