Wheat futures gained the most in a week on signs of escalating turmoil in Ukraine, spurring concern that shipments will be delayed. Corn rose, while soybeans fell.
The European Union today threatened further sanctions against Russia in protest to its moves in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Russia is on track to be the fifth-biggest wheat exporter in the year ended June 1, and Ukraine is set to be the sixth-largest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Grains Council has said the standoff could boost demand for domestic supplies.
There continues to be "uneasiness about the Ukraine- Russian situation," Darrell Holaday, president of Advanced Market Concepts in Wamego, Kansas, said in a telephone interview. "It seems to be jitter buying that goes on with that."
Wheat futures for May delivery rose 1.6 percent to $6.5075 a bushel at 11:08 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, heading for the biggest gain since March 4.
Yesterday, the grain fell as much as 2.3 percent after the USDA raised its forecast for global production.
Prices also rebounded today as dry weather hampered winter crops in the U.S., the biggest exporter.
Most wheat fields in the Great Plains received less than 50 percent of normal rain in the past 60 days, according to the High Plains Regional Climate Center. Rains will miss the region the next two weeks, increasing stress for plants as they begin to emerge from dormancy, T-Storm Weather said in a report. About 23 percent of the region from Kansas to North Dakota were rated in moderate-to-exceptional drought as of March 4, Drought Monitor data show.
"The lack of moisture in the Plains forecast, I think it’s kept people somewhat nervous," Holaday said. "Rain in the next 30 days is important."
Corn futures rose 0.7 percent to $4.815 a bushel, reversing earlier declines. Soybean futures for May delivery slid 0.4 percent to $14.135 a bushel in Chicago.