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Wheat leads grains higher Monday

10/07/2013 @ 3:04pm

Wheat futures closed at the highest in 15 weeks as wet weather slowed planting in Russia and Ukraine, which is expected to reduce production in the countries, and on speculation that Brazil will continue to import U.S. grain. Corn and soybeans gained.

Russian winter grain planting will probably total 13 million hectares, down 19% from what was originally planned, after excessive rainfall kept farmers out of fields, the agriculture ministry said Monday. As of Friday, only 8 million hectares were planted, according to the ministry. Wet weather has also delayed seeding in Ukraine. Declining global production may mean increased demand for wheat from the U.S., the world's largest exporter of the grain. Brazil has been a buyer of U.S. supplies since Argentina, its main supplier, has stopped exporting grain.

"We are seeing a continued strengthening of the global wheat price, led by Russia," said Mike Zuzolo, the president at Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting LLC in Atchison, Kan. "This has helped underpin the grain market mood as well."

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Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures for December delivery rose 7 3/4 cents, or 1.1%, to $6.94 3/4 a bushel, the highest closing price for the front-month contract since June 21 and the fourth increase in five sessions.

U.S. wheat exports from June 1 through Sept. 19 were 40% higher than the prior year, according to the Department of Agriculture. Sales to Brazil have increased after Argentina, the usual supplier of grain to its South American neighbor, stopped exporting wheat in a bid to increase domestic supplies.

Corn futures for December delivery on the CBOT gained 6 cents, or 1.4%, to $4.49 1/4 a bushel. Little harvest progress was made over the weekend as storms in the U.S. Midwest spawned tornadoes and kept farmers out of fields, which should be supportive for prices, said Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a partner at Summit Commodity Brokerage in Des Moines, Iowa.

Soybean futures for November delivery on the CBOT gained 1 1/2 cents, or 0.1%, to $12.96 1/2 a bushel in Chicago.

The USDA said Monday that it will not release its monthly crop supply-and-demand report because of the partial government shutdown. That will make it more difficult for growers, futures traders, importers and exporters to determine crop production, consumption and stockpiles, said Joe Vaclavik, the president at Standard Grain in Chicago.

"This one was something people were looking forward to," Mr. Vaclavik said. "The USDA hinted it may adjust planted acreage to reflect the amount of prevent planted acreage, so this will be seen as a major disappointment."


Write to Tony C. Dreibus at tony.dreibus@wsj.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 07, 2013 15:06 ET (19:06 GMT)
DJ Wheat Closes at 15-Week High on Russia, Ukraine Weather -- Update->copyright


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