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U.S. wheat surges as Russia-Ukraine fighting escalates

CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat futures rallied on Monday, with the benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soft red winter wheat contract jumping 5.1%, as escalations in fighting between Russian and Ukraine renewed concerns about exports from the Black Sea region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday there could be as much as 75 million tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine by this autumn and that Kyiv wanted anti-ship weapons that could secure the safe passage of its exports.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures rose 53 cents to settle at $10.93 a bushel. MGEX spring wheat for July delivery was up 41-3/4 cents at $12.33-1/2 a bushel while K.C. July hard red winter wheat futures gained 51-3/4 cents to $11.72-3/4 a bushel.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday morning that export inspection of wheat rose to 352,779 tonnes in the week ended June 2 from 344,907 tonnes the prior week. Analysts' estimates for the weekly total had ranged from 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

A USDA report on Monday afternoon is expected to show that good-to-excellent ratings for the U.S. winter wheat crop rose to 30% from 29% the prior week. Spring wheat seeding was forecast at 86% complete. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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