Russia wheat news boosts grains
U.S. wheat futures rose 3.5% Wednesday ahead of a meeting of Russia's agricultural ministry later this week, amid fears the big wheat-exporting country may curb grain exports.
Traders speculated that a cut in Russian exports could boost demand for U.S. wheat. The Russian ministry will meet Friday, after trimming its forecast last week for the country's 2012 grain harvest, which includes wheat and other crops, to 75 million metric tons, amid a drought in that country. Russia previously projected 75 million to 80 million tons.
Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures for December delivery settled 30 1/4 cents, or 3.5%, higher at $9.05 3/4 a bushel. Kansas City Board of Trade December wheat settled up 28 3/4 cents, or 3.2%, at $9.22 a bushel. MGEX December wheat finished 31 1/4 cents, or 3.4%, higher at $9.55 a bushel.
Grains shoot higher on Russian wheat news
Traders on Wednesday focused on the upcoming meeting of Russia's agricultural ministry because it issued downbeat crop projections after two earlier meetings this month.
"The alarm bells go off when they schedule these meetings," said Jason Ward, an analyst with Northstar Commodity, a Minneapolis brokerage.
In 2010, Russia barred grain exports amid a severe drought.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that Russia will produce 43 million metric tons of wheat, down from 56.23 million last year.
Still, Mike North, a broker with Platteville, Wis.-based First Capitol Ag, called traders' emphasis on potential reductions in Russian exports pure speculation. "We've been talking about that for two months. Will that happen Friday? Maybe."
Analysts said the wheat market was overdue for a rise in price after stumbling in recent sessions. Wheat futures also drew support from concerns about dry weather in Australia, another major producer, as farmers there prepare to plant wheat next month.
The rally followed a five-day slide for U.S. wheat futures. Wheat prices have been under pressure because of sluggish export demand for U.S. wheat and generally high global supplies.
Higher wheat prices provided a lift to corn Wednesday. Corn and wheat often follow each other because both are used in animal feed.
Corn futures also continued to draw support from ongoing concerns about this year's U.S. crop, which has been hit hard by a record-setting drought. Corn futures for December delivery settled up 18 cents, or 2.3%, at $8.13 1/2 a bushel.
U.S. soybean futures rallied Wednesday as strong demand and worries about diminishing U.S. supplies continued to support prices. The soybean market is maintaining price strength because record-high futures haven't cooled demand for soybeans from end users such as food processors and exporters.