Wheat Futures Jumps to 10-Month High on U.S. Crop Outlook

Wheat futures jumped to a 10-month high on speculation that cold, dry weather is reducing yield potential in the U.S., the world’s biggest exporter. Soybeans rose to a one-week high, and corn gained.

About two-thirds of the wheat in the Southern Plains will remain dry for the rest of March, increasing stress on winter crops as they emerge from dormancy, Commodity Weather Group LLC said today in a report. Crop conditions deteriorated in Kansas and Texas in the week ended March 16, and drought expanded north from Texas, government data showed.

“The crop needs abundant rains soon to avert permanent yield losses, and there are none in the forecast,” Terry Reilly, the senior commodity analyst for Futures International LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The crops are already in poor condition and fears of additional losses are spurring new buying.”

Wheat futures for May delivery surged 3.4 percent to close at $7.1575 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain in a week. Earlier, the price reached $7.185, the highest for a most-active contract since May 13

The grain has jumped 30 percent since closing at a 42-month low of $5.515 on Jan. 29 as shipping delays in Canada and Argentina and turmoil in Ukraine boosted prospects for U.S. exports.

Soybean futures for May delivery climbed 0.9 percent to $14.3125 a bushel. The price reached $14.42, the highest since March 10. The oilseed has advanced 11 percent this year on rising demand for supplies from the U.S., the biggest producer.

Since Sept. 1, exports have already topped the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for the full marketing year.

Corn futures for May delivery gained 0.3 percent to $4.8775 a bushel. The grain has climbed 16 percent this year.

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