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Bargain-hunting, crop weather surge wheat futures

04/03/2013 @ 2:18pm

U.S. wheat futures added to their sharp price gains, as trading ended Wednesday, boosted by poor crop conditions in the Plains and fresh buying interest after a recent price drop.

Wheat futures rose overnight after rainfall levels were disappointing on Tuesday in the area from southwestern Kansas to the Texas panhandle. That rekindled concerns about severe drought threatening wheat crops in the region.

Wheat also benefited from bargain-hunting, as traders were lured to buy futures after a sharp recent price drop. The Chicago Board of Trade's May wheat price closed Monday at a nine-month low for the front-month contract, pressured by a government report late last week that showed greater-than-expected domestic stockpiles of corn and wheat.

Corn futures prices were slightly higher, supported by the firmer wheat prices and by concerns that corn may also be underpriced after a steep decline. But corn's gains were limited by the high supplies shown in last week's report, which caused the price drop, and by hesitation among speculative traders to bet on higher prices after the decline.

Soybean futures fell, also pressured by greater-than-expected supplies in last week's USDA report. Soybeans were also pressured by a bird-flu outbreak in China, which analysts said might result in lower poultry production and reduced demand for animal feed such as soybean meal.

With prices yet to settle, CBOT May wheat was up 25 3/4 cents or 3.8% at $6.96 1/2 a bushel. May corn was up 1 1/2 cents or 0.2% at $6.42 a bushel. May soybeans were down 12 cents or 0.9% at $13.82 a bushel.

Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 03, 2013 15:14 ET (19:14 GMT)
DJ U.S. Wheat Futures Prices Up Again On Crop Concerns, Bargain-Hunting->copyright

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