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Wheat mixed; freeze damage assessed

04/19/2013 @ 10:12am

U.S. wheat futures are mixed Friday morning, continuing a trend of uneventful trade in the last few days, as traders try to assess how much damage has been done to Plains crops by freezing temperatures.

In electronic trading, Chicago Board of Trade futures for May delivery are up 2 3/4 cents or 0.4% at $7.05 1/2 a bushel. CBOT July wheat is down 3/4 cent or 0.1% at $7.06 a bushel.

Kansas City Board of Trade May wheat is down 1 1/4 cents or 0.2% at $7.42 1/2 a bushel. MGEX May wheat is up 4 cents or 0.5% at $8.21 3/4 a bushel.

CBOT wheat has traded in a relatively small range in the past two weeks, as traders debate how large the U.S. winter-wheat crop is likely to be. Recent rain and snowfall have benefited crops in parts of the southern Plains, but cold weather in other areas has likely damaged crops. Recent precipitation also hasn't been enough to end severe drought conditions in most of the region.

After likely freeze damage last week, another round of freezing temperatures hit crops in parts of the southern Plains on Friday morning.

The potential for freeze damage increases as temperatures fall to 24 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, and that was the case Friday morning for 38% of wheat crops in Kansas, 10% in Oklahoma and 29% in Texas, estimated Mike Tannura, owner of private forecaster T-storm Weather LLC in Chicago. But the full extent of the damage will depend on how much of the affected wheat crops were already in their jointing stage, when they are more vulnerable, Mr. Tannura said.

"I think the reason that people might not be super excited about it at this point is just because it does take time to figure out exactly what happened," he said.

Nearby CBOT wheat futures are up, while deferred futures are lower on hopes of strong demand for current supplies. China has bought a large amount of U.S. wheat this month, boosting optimism about further export demand.


Write to Owen Fletcher at owen.fletcher@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 19, 2013 10:44 ET (14:44 GMT)
DJ U.S. Wheat Futures Mixed; Traders Try to Assess Freeze Damage->copyright


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