Wheat futures rose the most in a week on speculation that the escalating crisis in Ukraine will boost demand for U.S. grain supplies eroded by drought. Corn fell, while soybeans climbed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine against continuing its offensive against pro-Russian separatists. Russia is the world’s fifth-biggest wheat exporter, followed by Ukraine, and turmoil in the region may curtail shipments from the Black Sea.
"The renewed tensions between Russia and Ukraine has increased buying in Chicago," Terry Reilly, a senior commodity analyst at Futures International LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. "The trade is increasingly nervous about supply from the region, and that has increased fund buying."
Wheat futures for July delivery rose 2.2 percent to $6.98 a bushel at 11:43 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. A close at that price would mark the biggest gain for a most-active contract since April 15.
In the week ended April 17, U.S. export sales for delivery before May 31, 2015, doubled to 610,765 metric tons from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed today.
Prices also rose on concern that moisture deficits will persist in the U.S., the top exporter, as rain forecast in coming days misses some areas and leave others too dry, Reilly said.
As much as 40 percent of the U.S. crop faces stress in the next 10 days, Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said today in a report. Drought intensified in the Great Plains in the week ended April 22, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Corn futures for July delivery fell 0.2 percent to $5.085 a bushel. Earlier, the price reached $5.135, the highest since April 9.
Soybean futures for July delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to $14.6525 a bushel.