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Wheat Extends Rally as Cold Weather Threatens U.S. Crop

January 6, 2014

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Wheat rose for a second day in Chicago to the highest price in almost two weeks on concern freezing weather may damage crops in the U.S., the world’s top exporter of the grain.

Temperatures dropped below zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius) across the Midwest today, with wind chills in Chicago making it feel as cold as minus 40 Fahrenheit, according to AccuWeather Inc. Areas of the Great Plains and southern Midwest have no more than an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow to insulate dormant winter-wheat crops from cold, National Weather Service data show.

"It is as yet unclear how severely the still-dormant wheat plants will be damaged by the extreme cold weather in the U.S.," Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in an e-mailed report today. "In the southern Great Plains and the Midwest, plants could suffer because there is not sufficient snow cover everywhere to protect them."

Wheat for delivery in March added 0.3 percent to $6.075 a bushel at 5:25 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade after touching $6.105, the highest since Dec. 24. Futures slumped to $5.95 on Jan. 2, the lowest level since May 2012, amid an outlook for record global supplies. In Paris, milling wheat for the same delivery month gained 0.5 percent to 203.25 euros ($276.79) a metric ton on NYSE Liffe.


Insurance Guarantees

U.S. winter-wheat planting probably climbed to the highest in six years at 43.53 million acres as improved soil moisture and high crop-insurance guarantees encouraged farmers to expand, according to a survey of 18 analysts by Bloomberg News. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release its estimates on plantings and inventories on Jan. 10.

Corn for delivery in March advanced 0.4 percent to $4.2525 a bushel in Chicago and soybeans for the same delivery month climbed 0.2 percent to $12.7375 a bushel. Both crops headed for a second straight increase.

U.S. corn inventories probably rose to 10.76 billion bushels as of Dec. 1, according to a Bloomberg survey before the USDA releases its quarterly stockpile report Jan. 10. That compares with 8.03 billion bushels a year earlier, after the worst drought since the 1930s hurt the harvest. Soybean stockpiles were estimated at 2.16 billion bushels, compared with 1.97 billion a year earlier.


--Editors: Dan Weeks, Sharon Lindores


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