Wheat Stays Near 19-Month Low as Freeze May Damage Crop

January 3, 2014 02:50 AM
Wheat Stays Near 19-Month Low as Freeze May Damage Crop

Wheat was little changed near a 19- month low as investors weighed ample global supplies amid potential damage to U.S. crops as temperatures dipped below freezing. Corn and soybeans advanced.

Temperatures may drop to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the next few days in the central and southern Plains and minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit in the Midwest, where wheat crops are dormant for the winter, according to forecaster DTN. Growing regions from Kansas to northern Ohio generally have an inch or more of snow, which can insulate plants from the cold, National Weather Service data show. Wheat tumbled 22 percent last year as the government pegged world production at a record 711.4 million metric tons.

"If it’s under snow, the crop is generally well protected," said Nathan Cattle, senior commodity analyst at Profarmer Australia, a unit of NZX Ltd. "So that’s the speculation, is the snow cover adequate?"

Wheat for March delivery was unchanged at $5.97 a bushel by 6:48 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade after earlier rising as much as 0.6 percent. Prices fell to $5.95 yesterday, the cheapest since May 2012, and are set for a fifth week of declines, the longest run of such losses since February. In Paris, milling wheat for March delivery added 0.1 percent to 202.75 euros ($276.75) a ton on NYSE Liffe.

Egypt, the world’s biggest importer, is issuing a tender to purchase at least 60,000 tons of the grain today, its state-run buying agency the General Authority for Supply Commodities said. Spot prices for U.S. hard, red winter wheat were $287 a ton yesterday, compared with $289 for European grain shipped from the French port of Rouen, according to the London-based International Grains Council. The U.S. and European Union are the top exporters and compete to ship grain to North Africa.

Corn for March delivery gained 0.1 percent to $4.21 a bushel, rebounding from $4.185 yesterday, the lowest level for the most-active contract since Dec. 2. Soybeans were little changed at $12.705 a bushel after dropping to $12.625 yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 8.



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